6 Sep 2011

Deal reached over sleepover payments

7:50 pm on 6 September 2011

An agreement has been reached by unions and the Government aimed at settling the sleepover payments dispute involving disability support workers.

The Public Service Association and the Service and Food Workers union have been seeking the minimum wage for sleepovers, including six years' of back pay for thousands of workers.

The Government, unions and the employers have been in negotiations since March after the Court of Appeal ruled that workers should be paid the minimum wage rate for every hour spent on overnight shifts instead of just the hours they were awake looking after disabled patients.

The Government has said the backpay would cost it $350 million dollars.

In July this year, more than 90% of union members rejected a Government offer.

Doug Martin, who represents the Government, says a settlement is now looking likely which will include backpay and for sleeping hours during the night.

Mr Martin says there will be a transition to the payment of the full minimum wage for the hours that workers are asleep, but on duty.

He says it will be 50% from the 1 July this year, 75% next year and 100% by 2013.

The deal is still to be ratified by all parties.