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Court of Appeal Equal Pay Case Starts Monday

Court of Appeal Equal Pay Case Starts Monday

Tomorrow the Court of Appeal will begin a two day hearing into the Bartlett v Terranova Case to determine if the Employment Court was right in its interpretation of the 1972 Equal Pay Act.

While the Court will be grappling with a high level statutory interpretation question the case is fundamentally driven by the injustice of low caregiver wages caused by systemic Government underfunding of aged care facilities.

DHB hospitals are funded by the Government to support wages of more than $17.00 per hour for caregivers in their acute hospitals and five aged care facilities, while Government funding for aged care facilities only supports wages of around $15 per hour.

“The reality is New Zealand will have a one billion dollar surplus by the middle of the year, so the time has come for the Government to engage with the aged care sector and increase funding by $160 million, which will support wages of $17 per hour for all caregivers” said Mr Taylor, CEO of the NZ Aged Care Association.

In May 2012 the Prime Minister said, ”it’s one of those things we would love to do if we had more cash and as the country moves back into surplus”. To see the full interview go to: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/no-more-money-aged-care-workers-says-key-4902464/video

“The benefits of surpluses created by the National Government’s sound fiscal management must be shared equitably amongst all New Zealanders and who better to receive those benefits than 30,000 caregivers who look after 34,000 elderly each and every day” said Mr Taylor, CEO of the NZ Aged Care Association.

“Some may see NZACA defending this case as inconsistent with supporting higher caregivers wages but they would be wrong.  The reason we are defending the case is because no aged care provider can pay higher wages unless we are funded to do so.  Wages going up without more funding would cause a crisis”.

“The importance of this case cannot be understated.  It’s about the viability of a whole sector, it’s about properly paying caregivers and it’s about truly valuing the elderly in aged residential care” says Mr Taylor.

NZACA have signed a litigation funding agreement with Terranova.  This agreement means NZACA is now directing the litigation from the defendant’s perspective.

ENDS

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