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Home care pay rates a national disgrace

Media Release

1 September 2005

Home care pay rates a national disgrace

Pay rates for home carers who enable people to live at home who would otherwise have to go into permanent care are a national disgrace according to Democrats for social credit health spokesman David Tranter.

“While I have previously been told of home care workers receiving as little as $3.53/hour in their hand after tax and travel costs, the figure of $1.31/hour just revealed by Rural Women New Zealand is an apalling indictment of the system they work under”, he said.

Given the short time often spent in each person’s home there can be considerable travel involved for little actual paid time since no travelling time is paid. Neither are vehicle expenses paid to the workers who have to provide their own transport.
While this is particularly onerous on rural caregivers where the $1.31/hour return has been identified, even in urban areas the returns are hopelessly inadequate.

“In many cases the caregivers are regarded as highly valued personal friends as well as providing skilled care”, Mr. Tranter said. ”Adding insult to injury are instances advised to me where care managers have reduced already minimal care time, sometimes as little as 1½ hours per week, to an hour –even when the person receiving care requires more attention as they get older. The mentality of managers who appear to think that increasing age lessens care requirements can only be wondered at. It is time government stepped in and rectified this situation before the caregiver crisis becomes a complete disaster as escalating fuel costs further deplete the miserable financial return these dedicated people are presently receiving. Given the huge financial saving when people remain home instead of entering permanent care it is absurd to risk this service for the sake of paying travel costs”he said.

Democrats for social credit endorse Rural Women New Zealand’s concerns and back their petition calling on Parliament to guarantee payment of travel time and costs for home care workers travelling more than 15 kilometres.

“We believe Parliament should take this one step further”, Mr. Tranter said. “Given that much shorter distances still reduce the effective pay rate to unacceptable levels we believe these costs should be paid on a per-kilometre basis whatever the distance travelled”.


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