Social and Community Services Sector Equal Remuneration Update – 27 June 2012

Minister Collins2nd Minister’s Update

Equal Remuneration Order

On 22 June 2012, Fair Work Australia (FWA) handed down the final Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) for social and community services sector equal pay case.

Acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan, the Minister for Workplace Relations, the Hon Bill Shorten, Senator Jacinta Collins and I have expressed our support of this decision.

The Gillard Government remains committed to providing additional Commonwealth funding of more than $2.1 billion to pay its share of the wage increase granted by FWA.  State and territory governments must also commit to funding their share.

The Gillard Government is proud that changes it introduced to the Fair Work Act have allowed the case to be brought to the independent umpire. FWA’s decision is the first successful equal remuneration claim in the national system and a significant advance for equal pay for women.

The Government has already undertaken a significant amount of work to calculate its share of the cost of the wage increases.  Now that the Order is finalised, the Government can finalise the process of calculating how much funding supplementation each eligible organisation will receive.

Roundtable discussions and supplementation

In recent weeks I have met with employer organisations in the ACT, VIC, NSW, and QLD to discuss the Government’s intended approach to providing funding supplementation in a simple, transparent and equitable way. I intend to undertake the same discussions with employers in NT, WA, SA and TAS in the near future.

The approach we are taking is one that avoids an onerous and complex application process, and one which recognises the different business structures of organisations. We intend to provide funding supplementation to eligible organisations through a simple adjustment to current contracts.

The feedback I have received from the sector on this approach has been very positive.  I understand that organisations are very interested in the detail around how funding will be delivered. To assist in answering some of these questions, a Frequently Asked Questions page has been added to the FaHCSIA website.

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the social and community services equal pay case. I will update you again further as new information comes to hand.

Julie Collins

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