Rural Women NZ says the Government doesn’t appreciate the crisis now facing NGOs working in the home-based older persons sector, and we’re calling for action, now.
The impacts of Government policies were highlighted in a recent report by the Human Rights Commission ‘Caring Counts’, after its inquiry into the aged care workforce.
At our national conference, delegates passed two remits calling for a fair deal for homecare workers and NGO homecare providers.
TRAVEL AND INFLATION COSTS
We urged the Government to reimburse workers’ travel at the IRD mileage rates for business use of a vehicle; and secondly to hold DHBs accountable for ensuring that all funds received for homecare services, including inflation adjustments and travel expenses for care workers, are passed on to service providers in a timely fashion, as intended by Government.
NGOs are struggling as the Government increases the minimum wage and employer contributions to Kiwisaver, and yet provides no additional funding to meet these new costs.
DHBs also fail to pass on inflation increases. Some have not passed on an inflation increase for three years.
NGOs have strived for many years to gain meaningful dialogue with government in an attempt to address these injustices, with little success.
The Human Rights Commission says fixing the problem of pay inequalities between those employed by DHBs directly, and those employed by NGOs would cost approximately $140 million a year, and it recommends a stepped approach to implement fairness on pay rates over three years.
It says the costs of pay parity would be offset by savings in recruitment costs, given the current high turnover of carers, and a reduction in hospital admissions through improved care of older people in the community.
RWNZ says it’s not acceptable for Ministers to say, once again, that the issues will be addressed when the country’s accounts are in a stronger financial position, while some DHBs continue to exploit the NGO sector and its workforce.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT ACCESS?
Let people know that if a person is entitled to homecare support on discharge from hospital, they should ensure they have a care plan in place before they go home.
Spread the word that people leaving hospital are entitled to a choice of homecare provider; it is not up to the hospital to decide.
Request Access brochures to distribute in your community, e.g. doctors’ surgeries, Grey Power groups.