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Legal action over travel time for home support workers

1 March 2013

Legal action pursued over travel time for home support workers

The Public Service Association is pursuing legal action over the funding of travel time for home support workers.

As part of a test case, it has been in mediation with Healthcare New Zealand in a bid to get adequate funding so home support workers get paid for the time they spend travelling between clients.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says there are hundreds of low paid home support workers who are essentially gifting hours of their time because they do not get paid while they travel between their clients.

“They are putting in 8-10 hour days and longer working to give professional care and support to the elderly, yet only get paid for the 6-7 hours they spend with their clients. Travelling is a part of their work and it’s only fair that it should be recognised as such. It’s a particularly big issue for workers in rural areas where distances make travelling times even greater.”

Richard Wagstaff says the core issue is continued underfunding by government and District Health Boards and that was highlighted in last year’s Human Rights Commission report into the aged care workforce.

“Home support providers are not being funded adequately and it is home support workers and the elderly and disabled clients they support who end up paying the price. I think anyone can see it is an unfair and unacceptable situation.”

The PSA is determined to improve conditions for home support workers and to pursue fair recognition for the important services they provide to the elderly.

Richard Wagstaff says “this is an issue which needs to be addressed as a matter of priority and one which we won’t allow the government to continue to ignore.”
ENDS


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