The aged care workforce - comprised of 98% women workers - is one of the most unfairly remunerated in Australia.
The Australian Nursing Federation federal secretary, Ged Kearney, said nurses, assistants in nursing (AINs) and personal care workers (PCWs), who care for vulnerable elderly residents in nursing homes suffer pay discrimination because it is a largely female dominated industry.
Ms Kearney said research released this week from The National Centre for Social and Economic Modeling, which showed women workers were paid 17 per cent less than men, was very disturbing.
“It’s a very disturbing figure but unfortunately not surprising,” she said.
“Pay inequity is alive and well in Australia and no one understands this more than an aged care nurse who, in fact, experience a double barrel loss.”
“Not only are aged care nurses paid less than men who have similar qualifications and do comparable work, they are also paid less than other nurses in the public hospital system.”
“This research shows the average woman worker earns $3394 a year less than a male employee. But aged care nurses earn about $15,000 less than other nurses – almost 5 times more than pay disparity of women workers generally.”
Ms Kearney said the pay disadvantage suffered by women who work in caring roles, such as nurses, AINs and PCWs in the aged care industry, is outdated and must be addressed by the federal government and the community as a matter of urgency.
“Severe pay inequity is not only hurting aged care nurses, whose wages are on average $300 per week less than public sector nurses, it is also damaging to the aged care sector because the industry will not be able to attract these highly educated and dedicated workers. Nurses and care workers in aged care are saying that enough is enough.”