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Another step forward for NZ’s frustrated low-paid workers

Another step forward for New Zealand’s frustrated low-paid workers

Cabinet have signed off the first Order-in-Council which allows for sleepover settlement agreements for health and disability providers funded through Vote Health, such as Spectrum Care.

The Sleepover Wages (Settlement) Act established a framework for the settlement of sleepover claims but providers have been waiting months for the first Order-in Council to be passed.

“This goes some way to fixing what has been a long-running injustice. PSA members working in the sector have shown tremendous patience since the initial claim in the Employment Relations Authority in 2007.

“It has been a very frustrating time for members waiting on the Order-in-Council to be passed but finally members at Spectrum Care have some resolution,” says National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

Spectrum Care has led the way for Vote Health providers and the PSA hopes that their hard work means that the process for other providers and PSA members, who have also made sleepover settlement agreements, will be much faster.

Health and disability support has been a traditionally low-wage sector as a result of years of labour market deregulation.

“Support workers are very poorly paid even though they look after some of the most vulnerable members of society. Many of these support workers are women which further demonstrates the issue of pay inequity that we have here in New Zealand,” says Richard Wagstaff.

The Sleepover Wages (Settlement) Act means vital services for vulnerable people will continue to be delivered overnight, while setting in place progressive improvements in pay towards the minimum wage for employees who do sleepovers.

A total of nine settlements with health and disability employers went through as part of the Order-in-Council.

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