Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA May-Jun 2013 Contents e for you
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National Palliative Care Week
Funded by the Australian Government
Department of Health and Ageing
11. Providers to set up a
consultative structure to
support positive change
in the area of workplace
health and safety, together
with a program of training
for participants and
management and staff
12. Casual employees who
have worked regularly and
systematically for in excess
of 26 weeks to have the right
(for a period of four weeks
after the 26 week period)
to request a conversion to
13. Providers to recognise
the importance of training
for those who have a
representative role within
the operation through a
14. Providers to provide
fairness and natural justice
in disciplinary procedures.
15. Providers in the residential
care sector will be provided
with an annual increase in
funding of 1 per cent of the
amount of basic subsidy for
each year, commencing 2013
(should they qualify), until
2016; and an additional 0.5
per cent in 2016-2017. Similar
arrangements will be available
for home care packages through the community care subsidy.
16. Should a provider be able to demonstrate to the Department
of Health and Ageing that they comply by 1 July 2013 they
will receive funding from that date. Compliant providers on
or before the 31 December 2013 will receive funding from
the date of any pay increase in their enterprise agreement;
and compliant providers after 31 December 2013 will receive
funding from the date their application is received by the
Department of Health and Ageing.
These proposals seem to draw on the negotiations that took place
between parties ending in November 2012. In this sense many of
the proposals are not new.
The government has continued to indicate that more detail
will be provided but at the time of writing this article, the
government had not yet provided sufficient detail for providers to
make an informed decision.
Providers will no doubt take a cautious approach before
accepting the additional funding in circumstances where they
still do not know the specifics of what is required of them.
No doubt when the government provides the promised
'information packages' to providers they will be better placed
to make an assessment as to whether the cost of entering
or amending their enterprise agreement, together with the
additional on-costs which they will have to absorb, will be worth
the additional funding.
Presumably providers will also be given the opportunity to
test whether their agreements are sufficient to trigger additional
funding before those agreements are either voted on by staff or
submitted to the Fair Work Commission for approval.
AT THE END OF THE DAY
While the government cannot really be criticised for attempting
to involve providers and unions in the process, it is fair to say
that the process has devolved to essentially a government
demanding relatively modest increases to wages in return for the
inclusion of terms and conditions, which are either already part
of industry practice, covered by applicable workplace and Aged
Care legislation or otherwise benign.
The real concern is the inadequacy of the additional funding
which the Government has directed providers to use to pay
for the increases; and the requirement that the 30 per cent
plus on-cost liability is to be borne by providers. This, when
coupled with the additional cost of making or changing extant
enterprise agreements, begins to make the offer of additional
funding far less attractive.
The Government's suggestion that additional costs to
providers will be offset by productivity benefits through
attraction and retention is contradicted by industry research
which shows that remuneration is not a significant factor.
By any standard the compact initiative has been unsuccessful.
I suspect that when the final details of funding requirements are
known, providers could justifiably suggest that there is nothing
in the terms of the supplementary funding which could not have
been offered 12 months ago. n
Tim Longwill is a partner with McCullough Robertson lawyers. He is
an industrial relations specialist practicing in health and aged care.
THE SET PERCENTAGES FOR WAGE
INCREASES, ABOVE AWARD RATES,
PAYABLE BY PROVIDERS
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
ACW, PCW, AINs and
2.5% 5.5% 8.5% 8.5%
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