Equal Pay commitment must apply to whole of community service sector

9 March 2021

Homelessness, domestic violence and a range of other services will have to cut the support they provide to people in need unless the Federal Government commits to continuing equal pay funding that it has extended for other community services.

The funding ensures that staff in the community service sector, which is made up of 80% women, are fairly paid. The Federal Government has committed to continuing this funding for Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) supplementation in most services funded through the Department of Social Services. But, as yet, it has not committed to doing the same for a number of other community services. These services include homelessness services, domestic violence accommodation, alcohol and other drugs services, services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrant services, and several other service types.

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“These services are vital at all times and especially in crisis. Without a commitment from the Federal Government to extend this funding, these services will have to reduce their staffing by hundreds of frontline workers.

“We welcomed the Federal Government’s decision in the last federal budget to continue funding across much of the community service sector for Equal Remuneration Order supplementation, which ensures staff in this highly feminised workforce are fairly paid, compared with other industries.

“But homelessness services, domestic violence accommodation services, alcohol and other drugs services, services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrant services, and several other services have been left out of this commitment and left to deal with the great uncertainty of whether they will need to significantly reduce their staffing levels from June 2021. This would mean hundreds less staff to support people facing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence or dealing with addiction.

“Following International Women’s Day on Monday, we’re calling on the Federal Government to ensure its equal pay commitment applies to the whole of the community service sector, which is made up of 80% women, and helps people in great need, including by ensuring women and children are able to leave violent perpetrators without becoming homeless,” Dr Goldie said.

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