Impacts of new pay deal still unclear, DHB says

Geraldine caregiver Jenny Stewart says the new pay deal announced by the Government is "a huge relief".
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ

Geraldine caregiver Jenny Stewart says the new pay deal announced by the Government is "a huge relief".

Only half of the staff at Timaru's biggest aged care facility are set to benefit from a new pay deal, while the South Canterbury District Health Board says it is yet to see the details on how the new settlement will affect its aged care workers.

On Tuesday, the Government announced a $2 billion package to address the gender pay gap in the aged care sector.

More than 55,000 workers, mostly female, would receive a minimum pay rise of $4 an hour, going up to as much as $7 an hour in some cases.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said that effective from July 1, the 20,000 workers currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour, would move to at least $19 per hour, a 21 per cent pay rise.

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"For a full-time worker, this means they will be taking home around an extra $100 a week, which is over $5000 a year."

South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) chief executive Nigel Trainor said the announcement would cover health workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services.

"We have not yet seen the detail on what this means or how it would be funded," he said.

Radius Care managing director Brien Cree said the new pay deal would only apply to healthcare assistants and support workers at Radius Care's Elloughton Gardens facility.

"This represents approximately half our staff at Elloughton".

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Cree was "unsure about the process" in regards to how much the pay of the company's staff would increase.

"The indication is that the increase is to be government funded," he said.

With the planned closure of the hospital wing at the SCDHB's Talbot Park aged care facility, 17 of its residents had moved to Elloughton Gardens.

The majority of the residents had been housed in its newly completed 30-bed hospital wing.

Cree said there would be "no need to increase charges to residents/patients" because the "pay increase is to be funded by the Government".

Retirement Villages Association executive director John Collyns said as residents in retirement villages were "basically independent, they won't receive any subsidy from the Government at all".

"They will have to think about how they pay their people. I would imagine one of the outcomes will be that they have to match whatever is being offered by the Government to retain the staff.

"It may well be in some cases the village could absorb the increased costs, because the staff salary wage portion isn't that high as a percentage of the total village cost."

E Tu union organiser and South Canterbury community support worker Jenny Stewart said its members in aged care facilities and out in the community, along with those in disability services, would benefit from the new deal.

"We've been waiting for this for five years and we've been suffering all that time, minimum wage just does not do it these days.

"It's a huge relief."

Stewart said that the pay deal had been made by the Government for "political benefit as well".

 - Stuff

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