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Nurses do deserve well paid jobs and 4 weeks leave

19 November 2003
Nurses do deserve well paid jobs and four weeks leave by 2005

Nurses delivering a petition to Parliament today for fair pay will be welcomed by Matt Robson MP, Deputy Leader of the Progressives.

"Nurses are definitely underpaid and their concerns about pay equity do need to be addressed. While it is an expensive task involving year on year expenditure, there are also costs of not addressing the pay gap.

"It has been estimated that staff turnover costs the Ministry of Health $100 million a year. Giving nurses fair pay and decent breaks will not only benefit the well being of these valuable workers, but will no doubt reduce turn over costs considerably.

"Nurses work hard in stressful circumstances. We can not afford to underpay and overwork them. It is in our interests, for we all are sick occasionally, to pay them well and give them decent leave so they are better able to care for us. This would be the best way to spend the $100 million wasted in turnover costs.

"Four weeks leave by 2005 for all nurses, and decent pay will help to solve recruitment and retention problems and bring nurses greater work life balance, all key Progressive policies which we are pushing within the government.

"I was disturbed to read in the Nurses backgrounder on pay equity that 'the gap between current rates and fair rates ranges from $7,000 to $19,000 depending on where nurses are in the country and how experienced they are'. Fair pay clearly must be addressed as we can not afford to lose more nurses to other countries with decent pay and good annual leave entitlements," said Matt Robson MP.

All Members of Parliament have been invited to receive the Nurses petition on the steps of Parliament at 1.15pm today. Associate Health Minister Ruth Dyson will be there on behalf of the government.


ENDS

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