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Rural Women welcomes travel cost settlement

Media release
For immediate release

12 September 2014

Rural Women NZ welcomes travel cost settlement for home support workers

Rural Women New Zealand welcomes news that a proposed settlement has been agreed that will lead to home support workers being paid mileage and wages for the time they spend travelling between clients.

“We have been fighting for this for 86 years, when a delegation of our rural women members first went to Parliament, calling for travel costs to be funded for this type of work,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan. “We followed this up with an 18,000 signature petition to Parliament in 2005, but until today there’s been very little progress on the issue.”

From mid-2015 support workers will be paid for their time travelling between clients and a further step early in 2016 will see support workers receiving a minimum level of travel cost reimbursement.

“The other welcome news is that there is to be a review of the whole structure of the homecare sector,” says Mrs McGowan.

“Currently the industry is too casualised. It is very difficult to recruit and retain staff because of the uncertainty of hours and the very low pay levels.

“Given our aging population, it is vital that these issues are dealt with so that we can attract and retain the higher skilled people who want to work within the industry as a career.”

The lack of reimbursement for travel expenses and time has particularly disadvantaged rural homecare workers, who often travel long distances between clients.

Today’s announcement will see around 24,000 support workers more fairly rewarded for the very important work they do in supporting people to live independently in their homes.

Rural Women New Zealand is the sole shareholder in Access Homehealth Limited. This company grew out of our bush nurse and housekeeping scheme, set up in 1926.

ENDS

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