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Aged Care Shake-Up - employment changes coming your way

Employment Law: 26 September 2023

Author: Bianca Mazzarella - Our People

“Fatigue” and “resignation” are words that became infamous to the aged care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This resulted in the Fair Work Commission making an order for a 15% pay rise for aged care workers and the Labor Government committing a record 11.3 billion dollars to fund the pay rise over the next four years.

What does this mean for the aged care industry?


As of 30 June 2023 award increases for eligible employees covered by the Aged Care Award 2010, Nurses Award 2020 and Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 took effect.

Employers will need to ensure they review their current employee pay rates, award classification and employment agreements to avoid any underpayment claims and associated penalties.


From 1 July 2023 the Super Guarantee increased from 10.5% to 11%. Accordingly, all employers need to ensure that they are making the correct superannuation contributions to their employees nominated fund.

What employers need to be aware of if underpayment occurs

Small Claims

Following recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), the monetary limit for small claims court proceedings will increase from $20,000 to $100,000. This includes employees seeking to take action against their employer for underpayment claims.

Civil Penalties

Employers should also be aware that hefty penalties can apply when breaches of the FW Act have occurred.

Penalties may include up to $13,320 per contravention for an individual and up to $66,660 per contravention for a body corporate. Serious contraventions can result in penalties of up to $133,200 per contravention for an individual and up to $660,000 per contravention for a body corporate. The latter requiring knowledge of the FW Act breach and a systemic pattern of conduct with one or more employees.


We advise all employers (including Aged care) to review:

  1. employment contracts to ensure compliance with current legislation; and
  2. employee classifications under relevant modern awards to ensure compliance with National Employment Standards.

Please contact our employment law team if you have any queries about the impact of these changes on your industry. Bianca Mazzarella, Senior Associate ( has many years of experienced and would be pleased to assist.

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