This page provides historical information on the Equal Remuneration Case for community sector workers handed down by Fair Work Australia in 2012.
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 brings 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.
"Pay Equity" is the term given to the campaign to address the substantial under valuation of workers in the Community Services Sector. This undervaluation has resulted in sustainability issues for community organisations where they are finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain staff.
The industrial relations commissions at both state and federal levels have found that pay rates are significantly lower than the rates for similar work done in other industries and importantly, this undervaluation is due to systemic discrimination against women (the community services sector workforce is 87% female). Implementation of new wage rates is currently underway however the industrial relation (IR) system in Australia is complex and evolving and organisations are affected differently depending on their IR status.
In addition, a significant increases in wages will place cost pressures on sector organisations so the campaign includes engaging with government to ensure funding levels are appropriate for service providers to meet those costs while maintaining services to clients.
The following pages explore these issues in greater depth: