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Thousands of Aussies workers to get 'deserved' pay rise

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has confirmed aged care and early childhood workers will be getting an increase to their wage.

The government has confirmed tens of thousands of workers in the aged care and early childhood sector will get a pay rise. In his 2024 Federal Budget speech, Treasurer Jim Chalmers described the cohort as the backbone of our society who "deserved" a pay increase.

The majority of these workers are women and Chalmers said the award wage increase would go toward closing the gender pay gap. There are around 370,000 aged care workers in Australia, according to the most recent figures, and more than 216,000 in early childhood.

"We will ensure those who look after our kids as they learn, and our parents as they age, have the secure, well-paid jobs they deserve," Chalmers said.

Aged care worker next to early childhood educator with hand holding out for coins
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has confirmed aged care and early childhood workers will be getting a substantial pay rise as part of the 2024 Federal Budget. (Source: Getty)

Find out how the 2024 Federal Budget will impact you by following Yahoo Finance’s coverage here.

"We will fund a further increase in award wages for our aged care workers, building on the $11.3 billion we funded last year.

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"And we have provisioned for a wage increase for child care workers as well. This will help recruit and retain more early childhood educators, giving more Australian children the best start we can."

The budget will also contain a $88.4 million investment to attract and retain the aged care workforce.

The answer to that question remains unclear.

Those in aged care will have to wait until the Fair Work Commission (FWC) hands down its final determination, which is expected to come mid-year.

Back in March, the Fair Work Commission made a further work value decision that could see the average aged care worker's pay increased by 23 per cent.

However, the Albanese government expressed concerns about a lump-sum increase causing labour shortages among other healthcare sectors.

For example, hospital nurses might jump ship to aged care so they could increase their pay.

A submission was made to the FWC in April outlining why wage hikes should be split in two, one in the start of 2025 and another in 2026.

The proposed 23 per cent pay increase comes after the FWC ordered aged care workers to be given an interim 15 per cent wage increase in November last year.

The decision to increase wages for aged care and early childhood workers has already been celebrated by industry experts.

“Australian workers had 10 years of weak wage growth and their real wages stagnated under the last Government," ACTU President Michele O’Neil said in a statement.

“The aged care and early learning sectors are critical social infrastructure, supporting our oldest Australians with high-quality care, and our youngest with skilled educators and carers."

Carolyn Smith, Early Education Director of the United Workers Union added: “The Federal Labor Government commitment to fund a significant wage rise for early childhood educators is welcome, and desperately needed to address the continuing workforce crisis in the sector."

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