NCOSS and other peak bodies are calling on the NSW Government to provide assurances that baseline funding will be permanently increased to incorporate Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) supplementation payments going forward. This will help facilitate equal pay for our highly feminised workforce, and ensure that organisations are able to maintain wages in keeping with the 2012 Fair Work Commission equal pay decision.
Here is a factsheet on this issue. See below for updates and progress on what has happened so far:
12 October 2020
The Federal Budget for 2020-21 handed down on 6 October included some key commitments for the provision of ERO supplementation for organisations funded by the federal government. The Department of Social Services has committed approximately $44 million each year for the next three years to top up base funding for the DSS-funded programs impacted by the cessation of ERO supplementation payments. The federal Attorney-General's Department has committed $29 million to do the same. It is unclear whether there will be commitments from other federal agencies who fund social and community services.
3 September 2020
NCOSS has received a response from DCJ Secretary Michael Coutts Trotter concerning the need for certainty on SACS-ERO, once supplementary payments come to an end in 2021. His letter gives a firm commitment that ERO will be maintained, rolled into baseline funding and reflected in contracts for the relevant DCJ-funded organisations and programs concerned.
It was great to receive this news in the same week as Equal Pay Day, drawing attention to the full-time gender pay gap that still exists in every industry in Australia and favours full-time working men. This is the case even in industries which are female dominated such as our own, and contributes to the national gender pay gap of 14%. We still have a long way to go - retaining ERO is essential to ensure that hard-won gains are not lost.
This welcome commitment from the NSW Government will strengthen our advocacy to the Federal Government for it to take similar action in respect of its funding programs. DCJ is now investigating how to vary contracts to reflect this positive development in the least disruptive way possible, taking into account the many variables involved. Stay tuned for further updates!
24 August 2020
Equal Pay Day on 28 August 2020 had extra significance this year because the Federal Government has yet to commit to funding for equal pay in the community sector (currently called ERO supplementation) once the legislation guaranteeing it expires next year. Equal Pay Day presented a great opportunity for ACOSS, the COSS network and the whole sector to have our voices heard on this important issue. We encouraged you to use the day to write to or call your local MP to highlight what would happen if this funding ended in June 2021 – you can access more information about the issue and a template letter to your MP here or see this factsheet.
10 August 2020
Via the Co-Chair of the NSW Health NGO Community of Practice, the Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (NADA), the health NGO sector has received a response from NSW Health Secretary Elizabeth Koff concerning the need for certainty on SACS-ERO, once supplementary payments come to an end for health NGOs in 2021-22. Her letter gives a firm commitment that the full final value of ERO payments will be maintained and rolled into baseline funding for eligible NGOs funded by NSW Health.
This welcome commitment from the NSW Government will strengthen our advocacy to the Federal Government for it to take similar action in respect of its funding programs.
16 July 2020
As Co-Chair of the NSW Health NGO Community of Practice, the Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (NADA) wrote to NSW Health calling for assurances around the future of ERO payments and baseline funding.
13 July 2020
NCOSS wrote to the Department of Communities and Justice calling for assurances around the future of ERO payments and baseline funding.
2 July 2020
NCOSS wrote to the NSW Treasurer calling for assurances around the future of ERO payments and baseline funding, in addition to immediate indexation to cover the 1.75% wage increase mandated by the Fair Work Commission from 1 July 2020.