Nov 26, 2012
The New Zealand Home Health Association can’t comment specifically on legal action being undertaken by the Service and Food Workers Union.
As a matter of information travel time has not been funded by District Health Boards nor by Ministry of Health Disability Support Services, other than in rarely applied exceptional travel situations. ACC is the only funder that reimburses travel time, and that is at half the minimum wage rate. We envisage that any legal challenge would have to involve relevant government funding agencies in order to reach a resolution.
Partial reimbursement for vehicle use is paid across NZ, but the amount varies across the country according to the rate paid by the DHB and the travel policy in place. A ‘Fair Travel Policy’ was implemented in 2006, which was designed to cover the vehicle costs of the support workers, but it never addressed travel time between jobs. Even then, the Ministry acknowledged that the policy was only a step towards covering travel costs.
Our members want to be able to offer workers more surety around hours and payment, but under the fee for service model, they are only paid for the actual time it takes to deliver the service. The amount paid under that fee for service model varies across New Zealand, with a 29% difference between the top paying funder and the lowest. The sector desperately needs a funding framework that provides more consistency in payment and service expectations across the country. Providers also need funding models that offer the flexibility to recruit, retain, and make best use of their workforce, and this includes a feasible, fair and consistent approach to travel costs.
The NZHHA is the industry association for organizations who employ home support workers. These workers support around 110,000 New Zealanders to live in their own homes. Around 20,000 support workers employed by members of the Association.
For further information contact
Ms Julie Haggie
Chief Executive Officer
New Zealand Home Health Association
04 472 3196, 0274 989 126