Dunedin home support workers who transferred from dumped
home-care provider Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) will
continue to be paid a significantly higher mileage rate than
other Access Homehealth workers, the Rural Women New
Zealand-owned provider says.
About 24 former PSO workers receive 47c per km, while other
Access workers receive 30c.
Mileage rates were yesterday labelled one of the sector's
''huge issues'' by Caregivers and Related Employees union
advocate Mike Hanifin.
Mr Hanifin raised concerns his members' 47c mileage rate
could be renegotiated to 30c, but this has been rejected by
Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe.
Because of carers' relatively low hourly pay, mileage made up
a large portion of their wages, Mr Hanifin said.
It was much lower than the Inland Revenue rate of 77c used by
public entities such as the Southern District Health Board
for direct employees.
''It simply isn't covering the cost for people [of running a
vehicle]. Even at the 47 cents our people struggle ...''
''They will be pleased to hear that assurance [from Mr
Titcombe],'' Mr Hanifin said. Mr Hanifin did, however, remain
concerned by the prospect of workers losing the higher rate.
Mr Titcombe said there were no plans to renegotiate workers'
''We are definitely required to honour their old terms and
conditions,'' he said.
It could not afford to bring other workers on to the same
rate as it would cost millions of dollars.
The issue of carer mileage rates had become urgent, and must
be addressed by the Government, Mr Titcombe said.
''I'm on record on numerous occasions saying that I believe
they should be paid substantially higher.''
Access Homehealth is owned by Rural Women New Zealand.
The SDHB dumped PSO as part of a move this year to provide a
new ''restorative'' service emphasising independence for