ANMF (Vic Branch) members employed under the Nurses’ Modern Award and the Aged Care Modern Awards – some of the lowest paid in the industry – will benefit from the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase the national minimum wage by three per cent to $740.80 a week.
All workers employed under modern awards will automatically receive a three per cent wage increase from July 1, when the higher minimum wage rate comes into effect.
Only a small number of ANMF’s more than 86,000 Victorian members are employed under modern awards, which came into effect in 2010. They include some personal carers and some nurses employed in a small number of nursing homes and home-care services, and a small number of practice nurses employed in medical centres such as general practice, specialist or day-surgery clinics.
In 2011, ANMF applied to the Fair Work Commission to increase the wages of nurses employed in these clinics, a move that would have forced the employers to bargain with the union on behalf of its members. But the Fair Work Commission eventually decided the nurses were not low-paid under the terms of the Fair Work Act.
ANMF’s success in such cases relies heavily on members volunteering to give evidence before the commission.
Most ANMF members are employed under enterprise bargaining agreements. Wage rises under EBAs are not linked to the minimum wage movements but arise as a direct result of bargaining between the employer and the union (negotiating on behalf of its members).
Of the estimated 600 aged care facilities in Victoria, about a dozen rely on the modern Aged Care Award. Most of the existing enterprise agreements in aged care provide for wage increases of about 10 per cent over four years (2018-2021).
The latest increase in the national minimum wage follows increases of 3.5 per cent in 2017 and 3.5 per cent in 2018.