2 Feb 2012

Community sector pay rates raised

6:52 am on 2 February 2012

Fair Work Australia has ordered the wages of a large number of community sector workers should increase by between 19% - 41%.

Social workers, carers and child protection workers will be among those who will eventually be paid the same as those in the public service.

Last year the workplace tribunal found that workers in the community and disability sectors were underpaid compared to public service workers doing similar jobs.

It found gender was one of the reasons for workers being undervalued.

In a ruling on Wednesday, Fair Work said the highest paid employees would receive a 41%, $A24,000, pay rise, bringing their annual salary to $A83,000.

Those on the lowest award rates will receive a rise of 19%, an increase of around $A6000 per year.

The ABC reports the changes will affect about 150,000 workers across Australia.

The new rates will be phased-in over eight years, in nine instalments.

The Australian Services Union says the ruling is a massive breakthrough both for its members and women everywhere.

Employer groups reacted with alarm. The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry says it is a disturbing decision that unions will use as a precedent in pushing other wage claims.