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Underpaid and Undervalued Aged Care Workers

Underpaid and Undervalued Aged Care Workers Under the Spotlight

The low pay and inadequate training of aged care staff will come under the spotlight tomorrow on United Nations International Day of the Older Person.

Members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the Service and Food Workers Union around the country will acknowledge the workers caring for older persons in our community.

“This mainly female workforce, who often combine paid work with caring for children and parents, is undervalued and underpaid,” said NZNO CEO Geoff Annals today.

“Yet caregivers make an amazing contribution to our community and society and NZNO and the SFWU are committed to promoting their value and their work.”

NZNO members will mark the day across the country in rest homes and hospitals and on the streets, talking to the public about the issues in aged care.

Ruth Dyson, Associate Minister of Health, will meet with aged care workers at Johsonvale Home in Wellington tomorrow afternoon.

“There are some very specific changes that need to be made in the aged care sector and we will talk tomorrow with Ruth Dyson about these,” said Geoff Annals.

“The issues for aged care workers are the appallingly low pay, often as low as $10 an hour, lack of training and impossibly low staffing levels.”

“Too often caregivers and enrolled nurses are looking after impossible numbers of patients on a shift – they simply can not give quality care in these circumstances,” he said.

“Poor wages mean a high turnover in the aged care workforce. High turnover rates are bad for employers, the staff and for patient care. Poor wages and lack of training opportunities send a message to these workers that what they do is not important job – and yet nothing could be further from the truth. “

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