It’s time to take equal pay seriously, Mr Turnbull

Thursday 8th September, 2016

Australia’s largest health union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), says we should use Equal Pay Day (EPD) 2016 as an opportunity to highlight the ongoing wage disparity being experienced by its members working across the health and aged care workforce.

According to the ANMF’s Federal Secretary Lee Thomas, nurses, assistants in nursing (AIN) and personal care workers in the aged care sector, are suffering the most. For example, aged care nurses are paid up to 30% (or up to $300 a week on average) less than their colleagues working in the public health system.

“Over 90% of the ANMF’s members are women, which is why we need to use Equal Pay Day to raise the awareness of gender inequality in the workforce,” Ms Thomas said today.

“We are alarmed that in this day and age, the invaluable contribution of women to the Australian workforce goes underpaid and undervalued by the Federal Government.

“We want more than rhetoric – it’s time the Federal Government and the Parliament rectify this growing wage gap in the aged care sector and ensure any additional funds are specifically targeted to the wages of workers. 

“Experience has shown that when employers are given extra funding in aged care, very few of them reward their workers with pay increases, or indeed employ additional staff to ease the workloads burden.

“Not only are our members being underpaid compared to men, but they continue to be at risk of the Turnbull Government’s attacks on their pay and conditions, including cuts to minimum wage rates, family benefits and threats to remove penalty and public holiday rates.

“Again, it’s the low-paid AINs in the aged care sector, who are the most vulnerable.

“Now is the time for the Turnbull Government and the Parliament to lead and make tangible announcements to close the wages gap.”

The ANMF, with over 258,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia. 

ANMF media inquiries: 0411 254 390.