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Relief that Government will negotiate on sleepover decisions


Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues


Labour spokesperson for Disability Issues

29 March 2011

Relief that Government will negotiate on sleepover decisions

Labour is relieved that the Government has agreed to sit down with stakeholders and unions to try to find a solution around the decision that disability support workers must be paid for “sleepovers”, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues.

The Government recently refused to back a recommendation by the Court of Appeal which classed disability support workers as working when they stayed over in IHC premises, and therefore entitled them to be paid the minimum wage for every hour worked.

“We’ve been calling on the Government to negotiate on this issue long before the Court of Appeal decision and were disappointed that they instead opted to prolong the dispute by joining the government to the Court Action.

“I’m also relieved that the Government appears to have shelved any idea of amending the Minimum Wage Act to avoid having to fund disability providers the costs of the decision. Any changes to the Minimum Wage Act to allow averaging, as the Government and IHC had argued in court was permissible, would have had a far reaching impact on all workers, not just disability support staff,” Darien Fenton said.

Labour’s Disability Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says that the decision of the Government to negotiate will ease concern for service users in Idea Services and other disability support services.

“It’s just a pity that their uncertainty has been prolonged by the Government mucking around in the Courts, instead of getting on with the job of settling this issue,” Carmel Sepuloni said.


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