Australia’s growing healthcare and social assistance industry is to be the focus of a new national campaign by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO). This campaign is being supported by a number of key stakeholders including United Voice.
According to the FWO 15 December press release, the sector currently employs more than 1.4 million workers, but that figure is predicted to increase to 1.6 million over the next four years.
The Agency notes that on average, more than 3000 people a month call the Fair Work Ombudsman Infoline from the health care and social assistance sector. Over the past four-and-a-half years, the Agency has recovered more than $7 million for 5300 underpaid employees from this industry.
Almost one-third of the current healthcare and social assistance workforce was born overseas, almost 80 percent are female and nearly half are 45 or older, points out the FWO. The industry also employs more than 22,000 apprentices and trainees and about 10,000 overseas 457 visa-holders, mostly from the UK, India, Ireland and the Philippines.
Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James says the new campaign will focus on allied health, medical services and residential care and has been developed following intelligence and advice from key stakeholders.
‘They are covered by the Health Professionals and Support Services Award, the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award, the aged Care Award and the Clerks – Private Sector Award.
‘Workers under these awards include dental assistants and receptionists, medical receptionists, disability support workers, personal care attendants, nursing assistants, kitchen staff and cleaners.
‘Fair Work inspectors will check up to 600 employers over the coming months to ensure their businesses are paying the correct minimum hourly rates, penalty rates, allowances and loadings and providing appropriate meal breaks.
‘Compliance with record-keeping and pay-slip obligations will also be monitored,’ emphasises the FWO.
Key stakeholders assisting with the campaign include United Voice, the Australian Medical Association, Leading Age Services Australia, Optometry Australia, the Health & Community Services Union, the Australian Services Union and Aged & Community Services Australia.