The sleepover settlement - what you need to know

Last month the Sleepover Wages (Settlement) Bill was passed by Parliament, entitling employees to the minimum wage for sleepovers.

Here are some answers to questions you may have about the settlement.

Because of the cost of the backpay involved, the government, employers and unions have agreed to phase it in over three years.

The key elements of the settlement are:

Hourly rate

The employer will pay 50% of the current minimum hourly wage rate for sleepovers, backdated to 1 July 2011; and then 75% from 1 July 2012; then 100% by Christmas 2012.

50% of the backpay owed (plus an annual leave adjustment) to be paid to those who have filed claims and have worked sleepovers between 1 July 2005 and 30 June 2011.

Those members who have filed claims, before the cut-off date of 2 September 2011, for the period 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2005 and who ceased employment during that period will be paid backpay for that period on same basis as the point above.

People who work for Idea Services (IHC) who are SFWU members have started receiving hourly rates in line with the phased implementation of the minimum wage. Most will receive their backpay before Christmas. This is because IHC was the subject of the test case that was the basis of the settlement.

Union members working for other employers will need to wait until their employer has signed up to the deal.

There is a strong incentive for employers to sign up, as they will only be guaranteed the government’s contribution if they pick up the deal. If they don’t sign on, the union may keep pursuing the court case that has been filed and get members’ entitlements that way.

We’ve been working with the Ministry of Health on a plan that employers can follow. It’s ready to go. We are still in discussion with other funders, mainly ACC and MSD.

It has to be done employer by employer so it will take some time.  We have also talked to the SFWU about dealing with employers where we each have some members, so that we can be most effective in those discussions and use our combined resources to progress discussions.

We expect some agreements will be able to be finalised before Christmas, and at this stage we are hopeful that the rest will be completed by February or early March 2012.

Once an agreement is finalised your employer will claim the government subsidy and be in a position to pay you increases and arrears.