South Canterbury home support breakthrough – legal action withdrawn

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi is pleased to announce that a breakthrough has been agreed with South Canterbury DHB and PSA that maintains the existing relationships between home support workers and the people they support.

South Canterbury DHB and Healthcare NZ have reached an agreement whereby Healthcare NZ will continue to operate in the region.

PSA legal action will now be withdrawn.

The issue arose when private home care service provider Healthcare NZ did not renew its funding contract with the DHB.

Home support workers and their clients were put in an untenable position as the other private providers in the region did not want to employ the workers with their existing terms and conditions.

Workers stood up and asked the DHB to provide leadership and facilitate a smooth transition to the incoming employers on the same terms and conditions, and to ensure continuity of care for clients.

PSA assistant secretary Melissa Woolley says, “Home support workers affected by this decision are breathing a sigh of relief and are pleased that their special relationships with clients and whānau can be maintained.”

“This is a clear example of workers putting their clients first. It means workers and clients can stay together and workers keep their terms and conditions.”

We have now asked the government to amend the Employment Relations Act to clarify that home support workers are covered under Part 6A of the act.

Part 6A is the piece of legislation that ensures that vulnerable workers, whose employment is often at the whim of changing contracts and employers, are able to move to a new employer with the same terms and conditions of employment.

Woolley says, “The disaster we managed to head off in South Canterbury shows how important it is that vulnerable working people’s terms and conditions of employment are protected.”