Human Rights Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue welcomes the Government’s announcement today that it has corrected a wrong for community support workers by agreeing to pay for travel time and for petrol costs when travelling between clients.
Dr Blue says the Human Rights Commission inquiry, ‘Caring Counts’, was instrumental in encouraging the Government to realise that the lack of pay for care workers while travelling between clients, and inadequate reimbursement for travel costs, was an injustice.
“We are pleased that there will now be consistency and fairness for travel time,” Dr Blue said.
“Inaction on pay inequality and inadequate compensation for travel are breaches of fundamental human rights.
“We congratulate the Government for their commitment to spend $38 million to ensure that New Zealand’s professional care workers are no longer discriminated against in this way, and I believe that this correction will also lead to more people actually able to remain doing this vital job.
“The tens of thousands of care workers, which are predominantly women, are key to enabling people to live in their homes rather than in a care facility. For carers to dip into their own pockets so much is clearly wrong.
“Our investigation found that many carers, when they added up how many hours they were working, were frequently working for free, so this situation was grossly unfair.
“We also welcome the announcement that a reference group will be looking at making this crucial workforce more regularised, with guaranteed hours and workloads because this is also stressful and can be unfair to workers,” Dr Blue said.
Fair travel is one of the ten recommendations of Caring Counts an Inquiry into the Aged Care Workforce.