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Study Shows Disability Support Workers Undervalued

Study Shows Disability Support Workers Undervalued

The Service and Food Workers Union is pleased by further study results that show something needs to be done about pay rates for workers supporting people with disabilities.

An independent job evaluation commissioned by the PSA and released today has shown that public hospital health/therapy assistants and corrections officers' jobs are of substantially similar size and value when you compare the knowledge, skills, emotional and physical demands and levels of responsibility of each.

An accompanying nationwide survey of disability support workers shows that their average top pay rates are between 22% and 52% less than their public hospital and corrections counterparts.

SFWU National Secretary John Ryall said that the 4000 SFWU disability support worker members have been frustrated with the lack of action by the Ministry of Health in implementing the promised targeted pay increases last year.

"The Government had promised to address low pay and the undervaluing of disability support workers last year, but the Ministry of Health, as the funding body failed to deliver anything."

"The low pay rates in the disability support sector has meant increasing staff turnover and frustration by workers and employers alike."

Disability support worker and SFWU delegate Julie Kahaki said that the increased staff turnover, especially within the first two years of employment, was not only frustrating for those who stayed on but also for people with disabilities and their families who required consistency of support.

"We hope that this study will provide a wake up call for those who have the power to do something about this crisis situation," said Julie


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