Aged Care: Increase In Minimum Wage Needs to Be Funded
Media release from NZ Aged Care Association
Aged Care: Increase In Minimum Wage Needs to Be Funded.
The NZ Aged Care Association agrees with the Prime Minister’s statement that those on low wages deserve to benefit from a booming economy.
However, the Government will need to increase the money it pays the elderly in care by $15 million, or 1.5% to cover the cost of increasing the minimum age to $14.25.
“The Aged Care sector is directly funded by the Government, which is why wages are so low, on average about $15.31 per hour,” Martin Taylor, Chief Executive of the NZ Aged Care Association, says.
“We note the increase in the minimum wage will not affect DHB hospitals as they are funded by the Government to support wages of more than $17.00 per hour for their caregivers.”
“Currently, the Government is offering an increase in funding of 1% which is meant to cover aged care inflation (3.6%), last year’s Kiwisaver increases (1 %), soaring insurance premiums (1%) and now an increase in the minimum wage (1.5%),” Mr Taylor said.
“This is death by a thousand cuts and will undermine the ability of all providers to ensure the quality of life to those 34,500 elderly in care. It also means most providers will struggle to give any wage increase at all to caregivers this year, which foreshadows an increase in industrial action over the rest of the year,” he added.
“All we ask is for the Government to cover the direct costs of their decisions on the services we provide to the elderly. It’s not much to ask for people who have worked their lives so they can live comfortably in their sunset years,” Mr Taylor said.