6 Oct 2010

Union dismisses warning on pay ruling

8:20 am on 6 October 2010

The Service and Food Workers Union has dismissed the government's warning that an Employment Court ruling on pay for staff sleeping over at care facilities could affect a broad range of other workers.

The ruling relates to a case brought by a care worker for the intellectually disabled.

It found sleepovers in this instance are work, and staff should be paid an hourly rate not less than the minimum wage.

The Ministry of Health estimates the ruling could cost care providers about $400 million in wages and Health Minister Tony Ryall is warning that schools, aged care, hostels and businesses employing sleepover staff could also be affected.

Service and Food Workers Union national secretary John Ryall says a few workers in boarding schools could be affected but the vast majority will be disability care workers.

IHC New Zealand is appealing against the Employment Court ruling.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says the Government is supportive of the case going to the Court of Appeal, reiterating that the decision could have implications for other industries.

He told Morning Report that the most important priority is to maintain services for the people receiving services from the IHC subsidiaries and the 100 other such providers across the country.