See HCHA's submission to the Health Select Committee on the Care and Support (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill currently before the House
Whilst we support the uplift in wages for our staff, we submitted that two key areas of the Bill needed to be amended. One was on funding and the other on training. We advised the Committee that the Government is underfunding the implementation of pay equity whilst requiring legislation to compel employers to pay. The outcome for our already underfunded sector is ruinous.
See also our press release on this issue.
Pay Equity funding
Thursday, June 8, 2017
HCHA slams government for short-changing the Pay Equity
deal and driving the home care sector to ruin
June 8, 2017 – The Home and Community Health Association (HCHA), whose members provide more than 95 percent of government-contracted home and community support services, claims that the Government’s broken promise to fully fund the Pay Equity deal is driving the home care sector to ruin.
“The estimated $250 million funding gap will mean service cuts to our clients who rely on our services to stay safely at home, including older people and those with disabilities,” said Julie Haggie, CEO of Home and Community Health Association.
“We fully support care workers being paid more, but the Government promised full funding of the Pay Equity settlement and has reneged on that promise, imposing the increased costs resulting from the settlement on an already struggling sector – the consequences of which are dire.”
“As a direct result of the Government’s shortfall in Pay Equity funding, we will see those who rely on our services the most suffer. Services will be cut, care workers will unfortunately lose their jobs and businesses will close down,” she adds.
“Those organisations that survive will only be able to do so on the basis of reducing quality, choice and responsiveness and turning down the lowest paying contracts or services for clients with high needs.”
“We understand politicians want to get political advantage from improving wages in the sector, but this cannot be at the cost of losing these valuable services that are relied on to keep people safe in their home while improving health and community outcomes.”
“More clients will go into institutional care instead of being cared for at home – which doesn’t deliver improved health outcomes, costs taxpayers more in the long run and it’s even at odds with the Government’s own health goals. It makes absolutely no sense,” she added.
“Minister Coleman has commented that the implementation of guaranteed hours is going very well. This is not the experience of providers and his officials are very aware of the problems. Guaranteed hours was not fully funded either. The combination of travel time payments, guaranteed hours and pay equity have added 100 million additional client transactions to a sector struggling to cope. It’s not sustainable and we’re at breaking point.”
Clients are going to miss out, especially those who cannot afford to pay for their own support or don’t have family to care for them.
“Our communities and voters do not want this – the Government needs to stick to its promises and fully fund the Pay Equity deal otherwise clients, communities and our industry will suffer the consequences.”
HCHA is advocating for the Government to stick to its promises and fully fund the Pay Equity deal, moving towards a sustainable home and community funding model in the long term. Achieving national consistency with national baselines for home and community health contracts needs to be a priority.
For more information please contact:
Adelle Keely on behalf of HCHA +64 27 517 2804 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Julie Haggie, CEO on 0274989126
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