Fair Work Australia has found that that social and community sector services (SACS) workers are underpaid, in comparison to their government equivalents in a landmark equal pay decision.
In the decision, Fair Work Australia said, "In this decision we have concluded that for employees in the SACS industry there is not equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal or comparable value by comparison with workers in state and local government employment. We consider gender has been important in creating the gap between pay in the SACS industry and pay in comparable state and local government employment."
The Australian Council of Trade Unions has said of the decision, “We are talking about workers who are mostly women and who look after... vulnerable people in our society.”
“This is difficult and demanding work, yet this female-dominated industry is one of the lowest paid in Australia because it has been historically viewed as ‘women’s work’. The skills and professional judgement of these 200,000 workers deserve to be recognised and properly valued.”
The Equal Pay Case partners are now required to lodge further evidence to support claims for increased pay. The Fair Work Australia tribunal will meet again on 8 August 2011.