Aged Care 15% Pay Rise WIN: Stage 2 and Stage 3

The HWU has been fighting to lift the wages of aged care workers in the Fair Work Commission. That’s why our union filed an application to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in an Aged Care Work Value Case aimed at lifting Australia’s aged care wages.
The HWU submission to the Fair Work Commission’s Aged Care Work Value Case, (which was initiated by an application of the union to vary the Aged Care Award 2010), had direct input from many HWU members. 
The good news is that the Fair Work Commission has now ruled to substantially lift Award wages by 15% from 30 June 2023, as part of Stage 2 of this Aged Care Work Value Case.
Stage 2 Wage Increases from 30 June 2023
In Stage 2, direct care employees whose wages will be overtaken by the increase in the Awards provided by the Commonwealth will be affected. These include:
Personal Care Workers (or sometimes referred to as Personal Care Assistants)
  • Enrolled (Division 2) Nurses
  • Registered (Division 1) Nurses
  • Leisure & Lifestyle Officers
  • The most senior food services employee (eg. head chef)
  • Home carers
Stage 3 Increases
Stage 3 of the Aged Care Work Value Case is intended to deal with wage increases for:
  • Cleaners
  • Food Services workers
  • Maintenance
  • Laundry Workers
  • Other Support Workers 
Currently, the Fair Work Commission is yet to provide formal dates for Stage 3. The HWU understands preparations have just begun for Stage 3 of the schedule for hearings to be available within the next two months. 
Public Sector $250 Education Allowance 
The Public Sector Agreement providers workers with many different allowances. One of them is the Education Incentive Allowance (Section 2, Clause 16). 
The Education Incentive Allowance of $500 annually is paid in 2 instalments of $250 from March 31 and 30 September to certain classifications. The next instalment is at the end of this month. 
The allowance is paid to encourage eligible employees who have not had the opportunity to participate in any professional development and education, to enable career progression in classifications which are highly susceptible to automation. 
The allowance is payable to the following eligible employees: Cook Grade 1; Food & Domestic Assistant Grade 2; Cleaner/Patient Transport Officers Grade 2; Driver (under 1.25 tonnes); Gardener; Handyperson (Unqual, more than 3 months experience); Patient Services Assistant Level 1; Allied Health Assistant Grade 1; Aneasthetic Tech Grade 1; Instrument Tech Grade 1; Lab Assistant Grace 1 with more than 3 months experience; Leisure & Lifestyle Assistant Grace 1; Pathology Collector Grade 1; Pathology Tech Grade 1; Pharmacy Tech Grade 1; and Theatre Tech Grade 1. 
Workplace Agreements Updates  
Getting members better rates of pay and better working conditions through workplace Agreements is the core business of the union. The HWU is responsible for negotiating over 400 workplace Agreements. Here is an update on some that we are currently working on. If you have a questions about the status of your workplace Agreement, please email info@hwu.org.au
The HWU been having regular bargaining meetings with Epworth – about six since 22 November 2022. The most recent was on 1 March, and our next bargaining meeting is on 16 March. These have involved detailed discussions of what needs to be updated in the new agreement, and reviewing a draft agreement proposed by Epworth.  The HWU provided a Log of Claims to Epworth in December. Epworth are still working on their formal response, as they need to complete costings for the claims. We provided an extensive Log of Claims (19 pages) so there has been a lot for Epworth to assess, and the end of year period also slowed down that process. After the next meeting we should know more about their position on the HWU’s claims.
The HWU is finalising our wages claim to provide to Epworth shortly. We have provided a detailed log of claims that seeks to improve many aspects of working conditions at Epworth including with regard to leave (annual leave, long service, parental and other types of leave), consultation, a fairer system for notifying and allocating vacant shifts and positions, the procedure for managing concerns about conduct and performance, redundancy entitlements, occupational health and safety (including safe staffing and workload) + more. 
There are still outstanding claims and drafting issues that need to be discussed between the parties, but we had reached in principle agreement on the majority of claims earlier this year. The HWU is in the process of organising the next bargaining meeting and waiting on a response from ISS about some classification/drafting matters. 
We are in the early stages of bargaining with HammondCare. Two bargaining meetings have been held thus far on 15 February and 1 March and the HWU attended both. We have put out requests to members for feedback on what they want to see in our log of claims. HWU Organiser Hanisha and Industrial Officer Brianna went onsite at HammondCare on Monday 6 March to talk to members about the upcoming agreement and listen to their concerns. We are now in the process of finalising our log of claims to share with members and present prior to the next bargaining meeting on 15 March. 
The HWU has finalised it’s Agreement with Spotless. After nearly a year of negotiations, Spotless finally agreed to pay parity with the Public Sector Agreement. This Agreement goes to a vote of all affected Spotless employees from Monday 13th of March. 

HWU Delegate Fair Work Win on Public Holiday Pay

Congratulations to Spotless HWU delegate, Thelma Stewart, who took on her employer and won after they cut her public holiday entitlements without warning. 
Over the 2021 Christmas and New Year period, Spotless quietly ceased paying the rostered day off benefit in the Spotless enterprise agreement to Thelma, leaving her to chase them up for answers.
Thelma had worked for Spotless at the Alfred Hospital for two decades, and had always received this union-won benefit. We suspected Thelma was the canary in the coal mine and that Spotless would make moves to cut this benefit from many other workers.
Spotless came up with a range of legalistic arguments for why the enterprise agreement should be interpreted in a completely different way to how it always had been, to try and weasel out of paying their workers. 
The HW took the dispute to arbitration before the Fair Work Commission. 
The Commission handed down their decision, rejecting Spotless’s arguments, and affirming that Thelma’s rostered day off benefit never should have been cut. 
In their ruling, the FWC recognised the long industrial history of the rostered day off benefit, and how it is designed to make up for the fact that shift workers, who regularly give up their weekends, miss out on the public holiday perks that Monday-to-Friday workers enjoy. 
The HWU will always support our delegates in the amazing work they do to stand up for their fellow workers. 

Domestic Violence Leave Becomes Law

Laws to provide 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave will come into force for workers in businesses with 15 or more employees after unions campaigned and won the reform for workers leaving a violent relationship.
For workers in small businesses, with fewer than 15 employees, the entitlement will start from 1 August, this year.  The Albanese Government made this their first change in workplace laws. 
Australian union marked the occasion by paying tribute to the thousands of survivors who did not have access to this entitlement, many of whom had paid the ultimate price. The HWU thanks our members who campaigned for change.
On average, it costs $18,000 to escape a violent relationship in Australia and economic security is a key factor determining whether a person can escape a dangerous relationship.
Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave will change that equation and save lives. With over three quarters of HWU members being women, it is s important members understand their rights under the new laws:
  • All workers – full time, part time and casual – will have access to 10 days leave, regardless of whether they work a 38-hour week, or fewer hours.
  • The full 10-days is available immediately when a worker needs it, rather than accumulating over a period like annual and sick leave does.
  • There are rules in place to keep workers information private including that FDV leave must not be included on an employee’s pay slip.
  • Full-time and part-time employees can take paid FDV leave at their full pay rate for the hours they would have worked if they weren't on leave, while casual employees will be paid at their full pay rate for the hours they were rostered to work in the period they took leave.
Workers in small businesses continue to have access to 5 days of unpaid domestic violence leave until their inclusion in the paid scheme from 1 August.

Members’ $12000 Backpay Win

A core job of the union is to ensure our members are paid correctly, whether that be in accordance with their Award or workplace Agreement. 
One member from an aged care facility (Dominican Sisters) was paid Sunday penalty rates incorrectly. After a thorough investigation by the HWU, our member was found to be paid incorrectly for approximately 6 years. Dominican Sisters recognised their error, and agreed to pay our member backpay for this six year period. This equates to $12000. 
If you feel you are being paid incorrectly, please check with the union. We will give you the correct advice and inform you whether you are entitled to a back pay claim. 

Bullying Complaints on the Rise 

This year, the HWU Member Assist Call Centre has received a sharp spike in calls in regards to workplace bullying.
Everyone has the right to a workplace free from bullying. Bullying at work happens when a person or group of people repeatedly behave unreasonably towards another worker or group of workers the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.
Worksafe Victoria provides workers with a list of actions to take if you feel you are experiencing bullying at work. The course of action you choose will depend on the nature of the bullying and your workplace. Thes include:
  • If you can, tell the person the behaviour is unreasonable/inappropriate, that you are offended and want it to stop.
  • Get advice from your health and safety representative (HSR).
  • Keep a record of events that includes the names of people involved, for example, witnesses. Make sure the records focus on the facts of the situation, what happened, including dates and times and, if possible, copies of any documents.
  • Use the workplace or occupational health and safety (OHS) procedure to report the situation. Seek professional counselling and/or advice.
  • Talk to people you trust at your workplace, for example, a supervisor, manager, HSR, union representative or someone from human resources.
It is especially important to keep a documented record of workplace bullying. The HWU provides members with an official ‘Bullying Report Book’ upon request. If you require a book, please call the union on (03) 9341 3300

Check Pay Slips

Monday 13 of March is a gazetted public holiday. If you work on this day you are entitle to public holiday rates of pay. Please check your pay slip carefully to ensure you have been paid correctly. 
If you have not been paid correctly, contact your pay roll office in the first instance. If you are unable to resolve issues relating to an underpayment with your pay roll office, contact the HWU on (03) 9341 3300