• Posted on: 5/06/2024
  • 2 minutes to read

The union representing thousands of largely part-time workers who provide care for vulnerable people in our community is urging the Government to retain the current sick leave provisions.

 The Government today launched a review of the Holidays Act and is considering pro-rating sick leave entitlements ‘to better reflect how much an employee works’.

 "This is just unfair and will penalise thousands of women, many of whom work part-time caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our community," said Kerry Davies, National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

 "It shouldn’t matter if you are part-time or full-time - sickness doesn’t discriminate."

 Home support worker Eleanor Keepa works around 20 hours a week in Auckland. She opposes any change to sick leave, which was doubled to 10 days by the last government.

 "My sick leave could just go up and down and I could end up going to work sick as I couldn’t afford not to work. They tell us not to go to work sick but when you are on a low income you can’t afford to take leave. Taking annual leave when you are sick would be unfair - we all need holidays."

 The PSA said the Government is once again bowing to pressure from business and moving at pace to solve a problem that just doesn’t exist.

 "A minimum of 10 days sick leave made good sense for businesses and employers - nobody should be forced to go to work sick, particularly in residential facilities and hospitality," said Kerry Davies. "With COVID still amongst us, why rush a change like this?

 "It appears the Government is intent on limited fast track consultation that currently excludes any mention of consultation with unions. That is not consultation.

 "We will be advocating strongly to make sure workers who are sick can rest and get well and protect vulnerable clients."