Thursday, February 17, 2011

In New Zealand, disability support workers could millions in back pay

From 3 News in New Zealand:

A landmark court ruling could see disability support workers claiming back pay worth around $500 million.

The ruling from the Court of Appeal upholds an earlier Employment Court decision that says anyone doing sleepover shifts in disabled person’s homes should be paid the minimum wage – even when they are sleeping.

The case had been brought by Phil Dickson who was employed by IHC subsidiary Idea Services.

“I knew as soon as we started that we’d be able to pull it off because it’s not fair, we don’t live in a third world country getting paid, basically, after tax $2.70 an hour,” he says.

IHC is refusing to comment but the ruling is likely to have wide ranging consequences.

The Ministry of Health estimated last year that total back pay for disability support workers could be as much as half a billion dollars.

The IHC says it may comment later today, and Health Minister Tony Ryall says he's studying the court's decision.