Minimum wage increase for direct care workers

February 27, 2023
Minimum wage increase for direct care workers


By Michael Roucek & Samantha Shariev

A Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has issued a decision about the work value claim Health Services Union and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) to vary the Aged Care Award 2010, Nurses Award 2020 and the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award 2010 (SCHADS Award).

Direct care workers, including nurses and personal care workers, were awarded an interim 15 per cent minimum wage increase by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in November 2022. The increase was in recognition that gender-based assumptions have long underpinned the value ascribed to aged care work, with the result that aged care workers have historically been underpaid.

The February 2023 decision confirms the timing and phasing of the interim increase, and that the making of interim increases is necessary to achieve the modern awards objective for:

  • Direct care workers under the three awards;
  • Head chefs/cooks under the Aged Care Award (Levels four to seven) provided the employee is the most senior chef or cook engaged in a facility).
  • Recreational activities officers/lifestyle officers under the Aged Care Awards.

The decision confirms the interim increase to minimum wages in the three Awards will take effect from 30 June 2023.

Impact on employers

Employers that are respondents to the Aged Care Award 2010, Nurses Award 2020 and SCHADS Award should review the draft determinations on the FWC website. The FWC will receive submissions from interested parties concerning the draft determinations by no later than 1 March 2023. Final determinations will be issued before 30 June 2023.

If this information has raised any further questions, FCB’s industry-leading employment law experts, along with our specialist Health, Aged Care and Human Services Practice Group, can help keep you up to date with Award changes. Please contact the FCB team for a confidential discussion on 02 9922 5188 or email us at .

This alert was prepared by Samantha Shariev (Solicitor) and Michal Roucek (Partner).