Since 2012, pay rates for employees in the Social and Community Services (SACS) industry have gradually been increasing, under the Equal Remuneration Order made by the Fair Work Commission.
The ERO addressed the gendered undervaluation of work performed in the community services sector. As a result, wages will have increased by up to 45% when staff are paid the final instalment in Dec. 2020.
To support organisations to meet higher wage costs arising from the ERO, the Federal Government funded an ERO supplement, delivered through grant processes. This funding was guaranteed by legislation until June 2021 but not beyond that. This means that the ERO supplements will cease after the final December payment this year.
What is the impact of ERO supplements ceasing?
For recurrent programs receiving the ERO supplement, this would be an effective funding cut of around 10%.
It makes no sense to us how the cut could be justified by Government, given non-profits’ obligations to meet the Award are set in law. Peak bodies across the sector have been campaigning for continued Government funding beyond the planned end date (there is currently no budget provision for this). We encourage you to consider your support of such initiatives.
NSW Government to transfer the supplement into core funding
In positive news, NSW Government Communities and Justice (formerly FACS), has recently announced that it will convert the ERO supplement amount into the core funding once the ERO ends. This is the right thing to do and we hope to see the same across all Government agencies.