Childcare workers stage another national strike – but what about our aged care workers?
Hundreds of childcare centres closed this Tuesday as workers walked off the job demanding the Government subsidise a 30 per cent pay rise – their third strike in the last year.
Childcare workers with a Certificate III currently earn an hourly award rate of $21.29 – not much higher than the national minimum wage of $18.29.
It’s also well below the average full-time Australian wage of $42.84 per hour.
But compare this to the current hourly award rate for a third-year assistant in nursing – just $20.63.
The fact is neither childcare or aged care workers receive the pay that their job deserves – and it shows.
A 2016 Monash University study found 30 per cent of nurses were considering leaving the profession in the next 12 months. Their average age is 47 – many set to retire within the next decade.
Yet predictions are we will need 614,000 extra workers by 2050.
Show me the money
Despite this pay gap, our aged care staff do an amazing job. They work hard in physically and emotionally demanding roles, often spending time away from their families to travel to work.
We all know these workers deserve a pay rise – but who’s going to pay for it?
Many aged care providers do pay above the award rate, but the staff wages are the biggest cost for both not-for-profit and private operators, making up 60 per cent of their budgets – and most cannot afford to pay more.
The Government needs to step in with more funding for aged care.
But they can’t be expected to shoulder all the burden. If we want our staff to be better paid – and for them to be better trained and qualified – then we the consumer will need to pay more.
After all, these are the people who care for our mums and dads – and will care for us when we are older.
Shouldn’t their wages reflect this?