One In Five for Sunday 1 May 2011
If you were offered around thirteen dollars an hour for sleeping on the job, you'd be a fool not to take it, don't you think. But what if it meant sleeping over at the workplace, and being on call to help out people in your care, should they need it? That might be a different story.
It all started nearly four years ago when the two unions, the PSA and SFWU, representing on-call staff with IDEA services and Spectrum Care took a case to the Employment Court. The unions claimed the practice of paying on-call staff sleeping over an allowance, equalling less than four dollars an hour, was unlawful. The Employment Court agreed. And so did the Appeal Court, when the case came before it.
In its decision earlier this year the Court ruled that on-call workers sleeping over have been underpaid for years. Service providers are naturally worried about where the extra funding's going to come from to foot the new wages bill, never mind the backpay!