Sleepover ruling may hit hostels

Taranaki principals are mulling over a court decision which could impact on the cost of running school hostels and ultimately hit parents in the pocket.

Following a hearing last May, the Employment Court recently ruled workers based at two Hawke's Bay schools should have been paid the minimum wage for hours they were required to sleep over at the hostels as part of the job.

The judgment also said they were entitled to six years' worth of back pay.

Taranaki has five schools offering boarding facilities to students that may be affected by the ruling, pending any appeal.

Francis Douglas Memorial College principal Martin Chamberlain said he was aware of the case and the ruling but until further details had been clarified, he was unsure how it would affect the school's 125 boarders and their families.

New Plymouth Boys' High School principal Michael McMenamin is in the same boat. The school has 171 boarders.

"We're exploring the possibilities and the implications at the moment," he said.

Taranaki Service and Food Worker Union organiser Sam Jones said he planned to meet with hostel workers not already covered by the union to discuss their options.

"We would like to talk to the school and employers about what were are going to do," he said.

Taranaki Daily News