The minister says the pay rise for older workers is a ‘promising first step’ in solving the sector’s crisis.
Wells said the pay rise was “desperately needed” and something workers “absolutely deserved”.
Prime Minister Anthony Albany said things needed to change or there would be no one to look after older Australians.
He said the title of the interim report of the Royal Commission on Aged Care was one word, ‘neglect’.
“It documented that more than half of aged care residents are not getting the nutrition they need.”
He said the decision also worked towards closing the gender pay gap as 85 percent of workers in the sector were women.
The union had wanted a 25 percent pay rise, but the FWC has left open the possibility of recommending further increases.
Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said it was a win for low-paid workers in the feminist industry.
“This shows that the awards system can lift the wages of millions of Australians when it works,” Westacott said.
Revealed: Top 15 Highest Paying Careers in Australia
“Government funding is the deciding factor in many niche industries such as aged care and childcare, so we welcome the Government’s commitment to pay for this increase.
“We want low-paid people to earn more and the awards system is the best place to do that.”
About 300,000 aged care workers will get a pay rise.