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May 29, 2012

Support for Hard-Hitting Elderly Care Report (NEW ZEALAND)

May 27, 2012
Source: ONE News/Fairfax

A damning report into the aged care sector has drawn a raft of support today, with calls for the Government to take up the Human Rights Commission's recommendations.
Equal employment opportunities commissioner Dr Judy McGregor went undercover in the elderly care industry, and her report released today slams the sector as a type of modern-day slavery.
Nearly all the workers are women, who earn as little as $14 an hour, something McGregor says must change, because in less than 10 years New Zealand will need 70% more workers in an industry that already loses a quarter of its staff a year.
"It offends against human decency. The reliance on the emotional umbilical cord between women working as carers and the older people they care for at $13-$14 an hour is a form of modern-day slavery.
It exploits the goodwill of women, it is a knowing exploitation. We can claim neither ignorance nor amnesia," she said.
The New Zealand Home Health Association is pleased with the call for pay parity with carers who work for district health boards.
Chief executive Julie Haggie said it is going to take some will and unity across the DHBs to establish pay parity, but she would love to see it happen.
Haggie said the association wants to be part of that discussion.
She said the amount employers can pay their staff is directly related to the hourly rate for service paid by DHBs, adding that that differs from region to region.
Both the Green and Labour parties have thrown their support behind the recommendations.
Green Party Health spokesperson Kevin Hague said pay parity between nurses and care workers "would go some way to reducing the shortage of qualified workers in this important sector".
"It is disrespectful of older people themselves that those who care for them are paid and treated so poorly.
 
"Everybody agrees that the wages are far too low. For goodness' sake, let's get everyone together to do something about it."
Labour's Aged care spokesman Kris Faafoi said an aged care strategy for the country is long overdue.

 SOURCE:       TVNZ
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