Care Workers’ Pay
Media Release – Age Concern New Zealand
9 May 2012
Care Workers’ Pay
Age Concern New Zealand is speaking out following a call by the Human Rights Commission to increase pay for aged care workers.
Ann Martin, the organisation’s Chief Executive, says these workers need to be valued for the essential and demanding work they do.
“These workers are caring for people who are often vulnerable, ill or disabled in both rest-homes and home-based settings.
“Older people need good quality care provided by adequately trained, caring, respectful staff. It is vital the right people are recruited and retained.”
“New Zealand’s population is ageing and more care workers will be needed. It is crucial this important job is seen as a viable career option.”
Age Concern knows rest home staffing levels are at times very light.
“That is what we are hearing from families. If older people in rest homes do not receive good- quality, appropriate, timely and safe care it is a breach of their Health and Disability Consumer Rights.”
According to Martin, not offering private sector care workers a fair wage will lead to a greater number of workers whose hearts are not in the job and who may not be retained.
“Staff need to feel valued and respected. This helps them carry out duties with a positive, caring attitude.”
Staff turnover can be particularly difficult for older people receiving rest home and home-based care.
“These relationships are important for older people. It can be difficult for them if the person they have just got to know and trust leaves.”
A high staff turnover could also result in a lower level of care for older people.
“This could happen if more care workers are being trained on the job and take time to become skilled in aspects of the job such as showering a person or safe places to leave mats.”
Having less staff would also cause care to become rushed. Martin says this may mean the worker not picking up on changes in a person’s health or abilities.