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Workers face more sleepless nights yet

Workers face more sleepless nights yet

Despite Health Minister Tony Ryall promising that disability workers will be paid the minimum wage for working sleepover shifts, there are still many sleepless nights ahead for carers, without adequate pay, says Labour's spokesperson for Labour Issues Darien Fenton.

"While it is gratifying to have the Minister come out in support of the plight of Disability Support Workers in the 11th hour, they will be waiting until Christmas 2012 at the earliest before being fully recognised and compensated for their hard work.

"The settlement as it stands could see workers remunerated and back paid before the year's end but only if the Minister advocates for and passes the measure with Cabinet. Even then carers will have to wait until December 2012 before they are paid the full minimum wage for sleepovers.

"After such a drawn out process the Minister must work to ensure legislation is passed this year. These workers have already had a five year battle to win the right to be paid fairly for the work they do and there's simply no excuse to delay further.

"I have long advocated for the rights of disability support workers to be paid fairly, not only during the day, but throughout the night when they are required to be alert and responsive to the complex needs of those in their care.

"These workers have significant and weighty responsibilities, and for far too long, they have been expected to work at night for less than the legal minimum wage.

"The Minister must follow through and deliver legislation before the election so that disability support workers can begin to be rightly remunerated," Darien Fenton said.

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