In March 2010, unions representing social and community sector and disability workers lodged an application for an equal remuneration order with Fair Work Australia (FWA). The application aims to increase the pay of workers covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Industry Award (formerly SACS award).

On 1 February 2012 FWA handed down its final decision on the case. The bench’s decision will bring rates of pay for most community sector workers throughout the nation into alignment with the historic Queensland pay equity decision and acknowledges that the work of our sector has been undervalued based on gender for far too long.

The order applies to workers in the SACS and CASH classifications of the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (modern Award). The order is separate to the modern award and set out as a percentage on top of the modern award rates. There will be a note added into the modern award referring to the order.

The order awards increases of between 19 and 41 percent. These increases are to be paid over an eight year period in nine equal installments on the 1st of December each year, commencing in December 2012 and ending in December 2020. The graduate entry points for 3 and 4 year graduates were also increased one pay point on the new Modern Award scale.

The decision includes cumulative annual loadings to account for impediments to bargaining in the sector. These loadings total 4% over the eight years and are to be paid over the same 9 installments. This loading will be in addition to Annual Award Wage Reviews so that the decision is not eroded over the implementation period.

It is important for Queensland organisations to remember that for affected organisations the Queensland Transitional Pay Equity Order prevails until the federal rates are equal to or better than the Queensland rates. Affected organisations are those who were bound by the original Queensland decision or who will be tied to it through the re-drafted Fair Work Regulations, which is expected in the coming weeks.

If you would like to receive ongoing news on the case and complementary campaign for funding join the Community Door Pay Equity Network Space.

In conjunction with this application for pay equity is the Vital Services, Decent Pay Campaign. The campaign supports the principle of pay equity and calls on state and federal governments and non-government funders to commit to provide new and full funding of any increases awarded by FWA.

For Campaigning Tools, Industrial Relations Information and Management Resources please click on the tabs at the top of this page.

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