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Minimum Wage Won’t Fix Low Pay IN Aged Care

27 March 2006

Minimum Wage Increase Won’t Fix Pitifully Low Pay In Aged Care

“While any increase to the minimum wage is good, today’s increase won’t fix the huge recruitment and retention problems in residential aged care, or deliver the aged care workforce fair pay,” said New Zealand Nurses Organisation CEO Geoff Annals today.

“The average pay for caregivers is less than $11 and many will get a pay rise today because they are paid less than $10.25,”he said.

“These workers provide hands on care for our most vulnerable sick and frail in dementia hospitals and rest homes, often in disgraceful conditions and through the night and weekends for no extra pay.”

Geoff Annals said in recent negotiations Australian-owned wealthy corporate Guardian Healthcare was forced to up its pay offer of $10 and hour for caregivers to $10.25 because of the increase in the minimum wage, but $10.25 was still a pittance.

“No wonder turnover in the sector is around 40 percent and the average age of the female-dominated workforce is around 47.”

Geoff Annals said the two things required to fix low pay in aged care were adequate government funding and wealthy corporate employers dipping into their profits to pay a fair wage.

“An immediate increase in the minimum wage to $12 would certainly also make a difference,” he said. “But $12 is still too low and this work is worth at least as much as the $16 an hour caregivers get for working in public hospitals.”

“Caregivers are amongst the lowest paid New Zealanders and they do one of the hardest jobs, caring for our elderly at their most vulnerable time,” he said.

Geoff Annals said it was in the interests of all New Zealanders that caregivers were decently paid.

“That is the only way to ensure we have quality care in our rest homes, private hospitals and dementia care homes,” he said.


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