11 Jun 2015

Care worker wage ruling appealed

6:04 am on 11 June 2015

A decision by health authorities to challenge an Employment Court ruling over wages for home care relief workers has come as no surprise to the union representing them.

In March a landmark decision by the Employment Court paved the way for tens of thousands of workers to receive the minimum wage and holidays, instead of a $3 an hour subsidy.

The case relates to those employed as support carers; people who provide respite to those caring for a family member who is ill or disabled.

Leave to appeal that decision has been granted by the Court of Appeal to health authorities.

Service and Food Workers Union National Secretary John Ryall doubted the Ministry of Health would be successful.

"What they're trying to introduce is they're saying they're not the employer, they're what they call a 'subsidiser' and that the employee is the 'subsidisee', so it's a licence to try and create a new classification of workers," said Mr Ryall.

Support carer Janet Lowe, who brought the case to the Employment Court, said the workers already felt undervalued and this latest development was insulting.

"I think it just shows their lack of recognition and respect. We're just numbers, we're not people who do things and give ourselves to the people we work with and do the best ... it's just a numbers game."

The ministry declined to comment as the case was before the court.