Health Minister Jonathan Coleman is pleased with how the implementation of guaranteed hours for home and community support workers is tracking.
“Home and community support workers play a vital role in assisting older people, disabled people, and those recovering from injury or illness, with household and personal care needs,” says Dr Coleman.
“In October last year, the Ministry of Health, DHBs, home support providers and unions reached an agreement requiring support workers to be guaranteed hours according to what they usually work.
“It means that from 1 April 2017 if a client cancels a session, and the support worker cannot be found work elsewhere, they will be paid for the time.
“This agreement is an important milestone in recognising the valuable contribution care and support workers make to the lives of many New Zealanders.
“It will help give greater stability for around 24,000 care and support workers across the country and is expected to have additional benefits including reducing high staff turnover rates.”
This agreement is the second part of the In-Between Travel Settlement. The first part, which came into force in 2015/16, requires workers to be paid for travel time and mileage between client visits.
As a result of this settlement, the Government has invested $150 million over four years into this group of workers who have historically been some of the lowest paid members of the health workforce.
This group of workers also benefit from the $2 billion pay equity settlement announced on 18 April, which will see their wages increase by between 15 and 50 per cent on 1 July, depending on their qualifications and or experience.