Sleepover carers still waiting for pay rise

Last updated 05:00 04/03/2013

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More than a year after legislation was passed, carers are still being paid as little as $4 an hour for working overnight.

The disability support workers affected are at the end of their tether.

In 2011, the Court of Appeal upheld an Employment Court decision which said support workers on sleepover shifts must be paid the minimum wage. The Sleepover Wage Settlement Act came into force that October.

Fairfax Media can now reveal more than 20 organisations are still waiting for the final signoff from the Ministry of Health.

Many of them are awaiting an Order in Council - regulations submitted to the Cabinet for approval. And some have had to re-sign their agreements multiple times after they expired while awaiting final signoff.

Workers will be back-paid, but in the meantime they are receiving below the minimum wage, some as little as $4 an hour.

Labour MP Darien Fenton said that was not good enough.

"The Minister of Health needs to put a bomb under his ministry where bottlenecks, delays and confusion are delaying settlements."

Hundreds of disability support caregivers were still working for less than the minimum wage despite providers reaching agreements.

Ministry of Health manger Mark Powell said that since October 2011 half of the contracts had been settled and signed.

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- The Dominion Post

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