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First reading ‘an historic occasion’

First reading ‘an historic occasion’ for home support workers

E tū, the union for home support workers, is celebrating the first reading of a bill in parliament yesterday that will finally see travel time payments for home support workers secured in law.

The Home and Community Support (Payment for Travel Between Clients) Settlement Bill is the result of a settlement between E tū and other unions, the Crown, District Health Boards, and home and community-based care and support service providers.

Before the settlement was reached, home support workers were being short-changed by only being paid for time spent with clients. For some people this meant hundreds of kilometres travelled each week with no pay.

E tū assistant national secretary John Ryall said the change was significant for all home support workers.

“This is a positive step towards the government and providers properly valuing the work required of people in home support,” Mr Ryall said.

“While their hourly rates remain far too low, at least they will now get paid for all the work they do,” he said.

Home support worker and E tū member Tamara Baddeley said the first reading of the bill was an important milestone.

“We were fighting for this for years before the settlement. It’s an historic occasion, seeing the bill begin to move through parliament,” Ms Baddeley said.

“Being paid for travel time has already made my life that much easier. With the travel time sorted, we’re now looking forward to securing guaranteed hours, and of course a proper pay rise when we win equal pay,” she said.


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