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Petrol price rises hitting field workers hard

Petrol price rises hitting field workers hard

The Public Service Association (PSA) is warning that mileage allowances paid to field workers are going to have to increase in the face of continually increasing petrol prices.

The PSA is New Zealand’s largest state sector union and represents many groups of field or out workers including Statistics New Zealand field collection interviewers and homecare workers. Field workers are generally not supplied with vehicles, but are instead paid a set mileage allowance to cover the fuel and maintenance costs of using their own private vehicles for work travel.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott said workers paid mileage allowances are having their real income eaten away as petrol prices rise.

“Mileage allowances are supposed to recompense workers for the cost of using their own personal vehicle for work purposes. The rise in petrol prices means the allowances paid to many workers no longer covers these costs.

“The problem is made worse by the failure of Inland Revenue to adjust the non-taxable allowance rate as fuel prices rise.

“The IRD non-taxable allowance rate has always been set lower than the rate many workers receive, for example the AA rate, but rapidly rising fuel prices make it an even less fair recompense for the use of private vehicles. In the past IRD has argued that because the price of petrol fluctuates regular adjustments are unnecessary. With petrol prices on a continual upwards rise this argument is no longer sustainable.

“It is important that both mileage allowances and the non-taxable allowance rate are now increased.

“Our members have noted that the increase in fuel prices has particularly hit lower paid workers who can least afford to lose any of their income. Rising fuel prices generally do not impact on managers who are usually supplied with cars by their organisation and charge their fuel bills to fleetcards,” Brenda Pilott said.

ENDS

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