The Public Service Association is calling on the Government to make good on their 2015 commitment to care and support workers and increase the rate it reimburses support workers’ travel.
PSA assistant secretary Melissa Woolley says, "The official IRD rate for reimbursing people who have to use their private cars for their work is 79 cents per kilometre.
The official government-funded rate for reimbursing essential health care and support workers who use their own cars for work is 58c per kilometre.
It is a disgrace that these hard-working, caring and dedicated people are subsidising the health system to the tune of 21 cents for every kilometre they drive.
The fact that there is a shortage of care and support workers is no mystery. They are underpaid, overworked and treated like second class citizens. No wonder they are leaving in droves and not being replaced.”
Support worker Kate says, "I work with people who are tetraplegic, who have cancer, who are dying.
I will always be there for them but it’s awful knowing that my choice to prioritise my clients means I put less food on the table at home. Every bill is a struggle.
We have been subsidising the healthcare system for too long. I don’t even want an apology - I want a remedy.
We should be paid the IRD mileage rate for all our work-related travel."
Vanessa agrees, "It’s wrong that we don’t get properly paid for the travel we do getting from client to client.
I love helping people but I’m losing out every day. And as more of my colleagues quit because they literally can’t afford to keep working, it’s going to get worse.
How can anyone justify treating us like this? I am sure that I’m not the only support worker feeling more and more resentful."
Care and support worker, Marcus says, " Why are we being so under-valued - and I mean that in all senses of the word?
The IRD petrol reimbursement rate is 79 cents per km yet the Ministry of Health only funds 58 cents for care and support workers.
I travel up to 1500km a fortnight and up to three hours a day to look after people because there aren’t enough support workers in their local communities.
If we were paid properly for our time and travel it would be a much more desirable career."
Note for editors - The Government commitment mentioned in the statement is the In-Between Travel Settlement
The In-Between Travel Settlement was agreed by:
- the Crown (Ministry of Health)
- providers of Home and Community based Support Services
- unions, on behalf of Home and Community based Support Service workers
- all 20 district health boards.