Sleepover ruling: Impacts
17 February 2011
Media Release – for immediate release
A Court of Appeal ruling that disability workers must be paid the minimum wage for sleepover shifts will also significantly impact on the mental health and addiction sector says Platform chief executive Marion Blake.
Ms Blake, whose organisation is a network of mental health and addiction NGOs countrywide, said that providers would be among those potentially facing millions of dollars of back pay liability.
And she called on the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards who have contracted the services to stand alongside NGO providers in working to resolve the issue.
“Sleepover rosters have been standard in mental health and addiction services in New Zealand for decades,” said Ms Blake. “So the liability for the sector could be very significant.”
Ms Blake said that under the MoH National Service framework, Ministry or DHB contracts with NGOs often specified that sleepovers must be provided.
“A number of service providers who have approached their funders about this in advance of the Court of Appeal decision have been told that this is their problem,” she said.
“However, it is very much an issue for the Ministry of Health, DHBs and the mental health and addiction services. Sleepover rosters have been required by the funder and reflected in the providers’ contracts and funders need to work with providers to agree a process and work together to resolve this.
“The sustainability of many NGO providers will be severely eroded by this decision. Without Ministry or DHB intervention it has huge implications for continued service delivery to some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.”
Platform provides a contact point for nationwide feedback on issues that relate to mental health and addiction NGOs. It aims to give voice to matters that impact on community organisations’ ability to provide services and to promote the role of New Zealand’s health and disability community sector nationally and internationally.