Community Pay Equity Claim Upheld
16 May 2011 at 2:43 pm
Fair Work Australia has upheld a pay equity claim for community services workers but has fallen short of issuing an equal remuneration order instead calling on the unions to show how much of the pay gap is caused by gender discrepancies.
The tribunal has now invited the various parties involved in the case to present further submissions to help it determine how much of the pay gap is caused by the gender differences between the community sector and comparable government employment, and how much is due to other factors.
Fair Work Australia says it does recognise that there is not equal remuneration for SACS workers when compared with state and local government employment.
However FWA says the extent to which this is based upon gender is not yet clear.
In its 121 page decision, FWA says while gender has been important in creating the gap between pay in the largely female community sector and pay in comparable state and local government employment, the pay gap between SACS workers and government employees is based on more than one factor.
FWA says that to the extent that the gap is gender-based FWA should take action to correct it if they can, by ‘moulding a remedy which addresses that situation’.
ASU of NSW Secretary Sally McManus says this is a great day for women and a great day for community workers. She says at last they have had the value of their work recognised and everyone is on notice that an increase in wages is on the way.
FWA says it has reached some preliminary views about how this might be done, however FWA has called on the relevant parties to make further submissions.
FWA has also recommended changes to classification structures within the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 rather than the issuing of a separate equal remuneration order.
FWA has called for further submissions on a number of issues, including:
- The nature of alterations, if any, that should be made to the classifications and associated wage rates in the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010
- The extent to which gender has created the difference in wages – including how the gender related undervaluation of the work of the classifications in the industry should be calculated and concrete estimates of that gender related undervaluation.
- The amount or amounts, either dollar or percentage, to be included in any equal remuneration order and estimates of the cost.
The unions bringing the case before FWA are required to file further submission by 11 June 2011, with the Commonwealth to lodge its submissions by 30 June and other interested parties to file their submission by 21 July.
Further hearings before the full bench of Fair Work Australia will be held in Melbourne in early August 2011.
View the full decision here: http://www.fwa.gov.au/index.cfm?pagename=remuneration&page=decisions