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Epidemic Requires Stat Holiday Conditions

Epidemic Requires Stat Holiday Conditions For Health Staff

“NUPE, the Union which represents many DHB Information Services and Clerical staff, is asking that politicians consider giving health staff who come to work during a Pandemic similar conditions to Statutory Holidays,” said Martin Cooney, Organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. “Workers receive time and a half and a day in lieu for working on Statutory Holidays like Queeens Birthday.”

“Submissions on the Law Reform (Epidemic Preparedness) Bill close tomorrow (Tuesday 6 June),” said Martin Cooney. “The Bill makes changes to the Health Act, Holidays Act, Immigration Act, Parole Act, RMA, Sentencing Act and Income Tax Act with the thrust of the changes the giving of extra powers to the Medical Officers of Health, the ability to keep essential things going, and other practical changes.”

“Employers for example will be able to place employees on leave without giving 14 days notice once an epidemic notice has been declared,” said Martin Cooney. “Health employees will find that their cars or other property can be requisitioned to deliver supplies, patients or for any other purpose.”

“The most likely health staff affected by this will be the non-clinical but absolutely vital IS and clerical staff i.e. medical secretaries, ward and admission clerks, telephonists, clinical records and coders and stores clerks,” said Martin Cooney. “These staff understand that the community needs them to come to work in a Pandemic and they are prepared to do so. They also realise that once at work they may not be able to return home for some time if a quarantine or isolation area is declared.”

“However the community must recognise that they comprise the lowest paid occupational groups in Public Hospitals. NUPE IS and clerical members who have been asking for a significant pay catch-up since November 2004, are now asking why they and their cars are on the pandemic front line, but are at the back of the queue for pay rises,” said Martin Cooney. “Politicans need to deal with their ongoing pay issue and also ensure the community appreciates the sacrifice they are prepared to make.”


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