An update on In-Between Travel changes
Between October 2014 and March 2015 support workers were given the opportunity to vote on the In-Between Travel Agreement settlement which was negotiated between providers, unions, funders and government.
Votes have been counted and the majority have indicated support for the agreement to pay support workers the following:
- a new travel time payment to cover travel between clients effective from 1 July 2015
- a new national minimum mileage rate of 50 cents per km effective from 1 March 2016.
Other parts of the agreement include:
- provided there is enough funding, the intent is to increase the 50 cents per km funding for travel costs to a minimum of 60 cents per km at a later date
- work by a wide group of experts to look at a way support workers can be guaranteed hours, fair and safe workloads, and wages that recognise qualifications.
Interim arrangements from 1 July 2015
- The Settlement parties to the Agreement, and ACC, have agreed there is insufficient time to put in place a full travel band system for the implementation of In-Between Travel including exceptional travel. They have therefore agreed to some interim arrangements to ensure employees receive payments from 1 July 2015.
- The related legislation is still being worked on and developed by the Settlement parties.
- The following applies to employees undertaking home support visits funded by Ministry of Health Disability Support Services or by District Health Boards. For those doing ACC work the payments will be similar but there will be slight differences.
- The interim solution starts from 29 June 2015 and ends 28 February 2016. The start and end dates of the interim solution has been aligned with your pay week. These dates enable payments to commence from the start of the week rather than mid-week.
- Note that 2016 is a leap year. For simplicity, the In-Between Travel mileage and other payments will change on 29 February 2016.
- MOH and DHB funded travel to the first visit of the day or for your travel home from the last visit is excluded from payment to support workers (subject to existing exceptional travel arrangements).
- Reimbursement for both regular travel time and travel costs are based on average costs. This means that payment may be higher or lower than the actual distance and time taken. Exceptional travel will be paid on actual costs.
- From 29 June 2015 you will receive an interim payment of $2.28 per visit for travel time. The $2.28 payment is based on average travel times across the sector (not actual travel times) and will be taxable. This interim payment may be higher or lower than the actual payment to be made from the 29 February 2016.
- If you also work on ACC funded contracts the arrangements are slightly different. This will be covered in a separate letter to those who work on ACC funded contracts.
Fair Travel and exceptional travel
- While the interim arrangements are in place any payment that you currently receive for travel costs will continue until 28 February 2016.
- You will continue to get paid for exceptional and rural travel costs under the current system. It is expected that a new system of payment for exceptional travel may be introduced in September 2015. Providers, unions and funders are committed to ensuring there will be no financial disadvantage as a result of moving to the new system. The Settlement parties are continuing to work on this for the future model during this interim period.
- From 29 February 2016 you will be paid a non-taxable allowance of $0.50 per kilometre (with the exception being the first trip of the day – travel to the first visit is not included). The $0.50 payment is based on average travel distance across the sector (not actual travel distance).
- It is intended workers who are required to travel exceptional time will be reimbursed for their costs from September 2015 under a new system. However, this is dependent on payroll and payment systems being ready. At the latest the new policy will be in place by 29 February 2016.
- The criteria for exceptional travel is being jointly developed by employers, unions, and funders. Information about exceptional travel will be posted on the Ministry website in the coming months.
So what happens next?
In order for you to receive the correct interim payment it is vital that your roster is correct. Please manage any changes to your roster through your coordinators. This means that if you are changing the time, or date of an appointment, you must let your coordinator know.
Questions and Answers
In-between Travel Agreement – Questions and Answers
Why did the In-Between Travel Agreement happen?
The PSA took a case to the Employment Relations Authority on behalf of a home support worker to argue that time spent traveling between clients is work, and they should therefore be paid at least the minimum wage rate for that time. As a result of the pending case, the Minister of Health established discussions with the Ministry of Health, home and community support providers, the unions and the district health boards to see if they could reach agreement on how to solve this issue.
In August 2014 these parties signed the In-Between Travel Agreement. As part of the agreement the unions and employers asked all home and community support workers to vote on whether they supported the agreement.
Why will there be a temporary interim payment made?
- Some of the technical detail of the settlement is still being worked through by the parties involved, e.g. the travel band schedule (based on postcodes) and exception rules, and how payments will be processed. These all require significant system changes to be made. ACC also needs to reach similar arrangements with the providers and unions (this process is underway).
- While these details are being worked through, a temporary interim payment will be applied from 29th June 2015. It is intended that this will continue until 28 February 2016 (whilst the related In-Between Travel legislation is passed and comes into effect).
- Your existing Fair Travel payments will continue unchanged during the interim period. The temporary interim payment will be made in addition to this usual payment.
- From 29 February 2016, when the new permanent system becomes effective, the payments you receive for travel time and cost will change and you may therefore receive a different amount to what you are receiving during the interim period. We will let you know more about this once these details are all confirmed.
How will the temporary interim payment be made?
The interim payment will be made at a flat rate of $2.28 for each client visit (other than the first visit of each day).
- Payment will apply to travel between clients’ homes, but not to the first visit of the day or travel back home from your last visit each day
- Each visit will be paid at the same rate of $2.28
- Interim payments will be taxable and treated as part of your wage
- These payments are in addition to your current Fair Travel payments
What happens next?
- In order for you to receive the correct interim payment it is vital that your roster is correct. Please manage any change to your roster through your coordinators.
For further information please visit www.health.govt.nz