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Minimum Wage Hike Will Hit Aged Care Hard

MEDIA RELEASE

18 December 2006

Minimum Wage Hike Will Hit Aged Care Hard

Today's increase in the minimum wage must be matched with an increase in aged residential care funding or providers will be hit hard, says HealthCare Providers NZ.

At present there is a 10% gap between the minimum wage and the average caregiver wage rates ($10.25 v $11.33).

"If more funding is not made available then the government is agreeing to caregiving becoming a minimum wage occupation" said Martin Taylor CEO of HealthCare Providers NZ.

"We believe caregiving is an important job that deserves better wages, but you cannot pay out more than you are funded for. This sector is depended on government funding and we have already been waiting 9 months for DHBs to agree to our funding claim for the last minimum wage increase", said Mr Taylor.

Mr Taylor said a crisis of care delivery was fast looming caused by unfunded increases in minimum wages, on top of unfunded wage pressures caused by the 20% increase in DHB nurse wages following the NZNO settlement.

"I hope the Minister's long awaited Sustainability Report, into aged residential care, addresses the funding pressures caused by legislative increases in wages, and the impact of the nurses' settlement. If it doesn't then the looming crisis will become a reality", said Mr Taylor.

"You cannot provide care with out caregivers and nurses. Therefore, the sector will not be able to continue to deliver high quality care if something is not done – and done now," said Mr Taylor.

ENDS

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