Valuing NZ’s most vulnerable - and the people who support them

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Workers who look after New Zealand’s most vulnerable will be on their way to getting what they deserve, when a new revised agreement comes into force in April next year.

The Ministry of Health, DHBs, providers and unions have agreed to vary the In Between Travel settlement to give workers guaranteed hours and access to the training their clients need.

"This agreement will cover around 24,000 home support workers, mostly women, whose average age is 56," PSA Assistant National Secretary Kerry Davies says.

"They’ve been treated like second-class citizens for years, but this change will recognise and celebrate the value of the work they do helping vulnerable people stay in their own homes."

Jenny Goodman, the support worker and PSA member in whose name the original court case was taken, is overjoyed.

"I love my job, because I’m supporting my clients to have the best possible lives.

"This commitment to secure hours, a permanent workforce and better training recognises the importance of the job we do - and makes sure clients will get the support they deserve."

E tū delegate Rosalind Snowdon says this will be the first time in five years of home support work that she’ll have a guaranteed income.

"Working certain hours for certain pay will make it a lot easier to budget and plan our lives."

E tū Assistant National Secretary John Ryall says the agreement will bring certainty to home support workers’ lives.

"If clients die suddenly, a support worker’s income can disappear almost overnight.

"We have members whose income has been cut in half over the course of a fortnight - now they’ll be able to go to work knowing they can pay their bills each week."

CTU President Richard Wagstaff welcomes the variation.

"This will lead to a regularised workforce - with guaranteed hours and income for workers, and quality support for clients," Mr Wagstaff says.

The agreement will come into force by 1 April 2017.