Payments for sleepover shifts - a report on progress

The PSA, along with the Service and Food Workers Union, is in negotiations with the government and employers over payments for sleepover shifts in disability and mental health support services.

On behalf of members, the unions are claiming the legal minimum wage for each hour worked on a sleepover shift and backpay for underpayments in the past 6 years. The total amount of backpay owing is around $300 million.

The union claim follows decisions by both the Employment Court and the Court of Appeal that sleepover shifts should be paid at least the minimum wage.

The employers have now appealed to the Supreme Court to have the courts’ decisions overturned. The appeal is to be heard on the 13th September 2011.

They say they can’t afford to pay a proper wage for sleepover shifts and some will go bankrupt if they have to pay backpay.

The PSA accepts that providers don’t get enough funding from government to settle our claim on behalf of members.

It’s the government’s job to fix it.

For years, governments have agreed to cheap funding contracts based on paying illegal wages. Now it’s time to pay up and properly fund these important support services.

No. The risk comes from the government’s cheapskate approach to mental health and disability support services.

The PSA and SFWU are demanding that the services be put on a firm footing through funding based on decent pay and quality services. This is what service users and their families are also calling for.

The government has a legal obligation to fund the sector to comply with minimum legal requirements, including the minimum wage.

This opens the door for potential legal proceedings against the government to ensure adequate funding.

If you are a current PSA member or former PSA member who has filled out an authorisation form and sleepovers have been worked in the last six years where you work or where you did work, legal proceedings will be filed in your name and you will be covered by the case. If you are not sure, talk to your organiser or phone the PSA on 0508 367 772.