Will better pay for care workers result in a better service?

Pay equity comes into being from the beginning of July – but the price will also go up for people who need support.

The Government said that the $2billion settlement wouldn’t just include workers in the Aged Care sector – and yet this seems like the most plausible area to start. But for the weekly cost of living in a rest home or care facility, costs will no doubt rise as a result of higher pay. According to the Government, increases in funding will occur across the Health and ACC budgets.

For a long time now, New Zealand’s elderly have paid some very good money, often for poor service in return. The quality of caregiver, you’d hope, will increase as a result of a higher pay packet. The disability and aged care sector could see a rapid rise in employment rate as people now seek the job due to this higher pay.

Is this all to the benefit of the clients? Well, having more care workers on the floor in a rest home is a great place to start. But there is no promise that each individual shift will see more people working at any one time, and this is something that needs to be addressed.

You’d hope that a higher paid  worker would result in a happier, and ultimately, better support worker in the process. However, you can have the greatest worker in the world, but if they have too much on their plate all the time, then the quality of care for individuals won’t improve.

So where does the Service Provider fit in among all this? A lot of Service Providers rely on funding from Ministry contracts, so you’d think that those under the MoH will be able to pay their support workers more.

But seeing all this being implemented and signed off on by July 1st seems a stretch for most Service Providers; especially the ones struggling to balance the books already. The conversations, surely, must have begun already surrounding what happens from July 1st.

Remember – the Government have moved to slam the door on future claimants as well. The fight is far from over, but in the meantime let’s try and attract the right care workers for the right positions across the board. Easier said than done, I know, but if you can get that right then it will go a long way toward enriching the experience for both the care worker and the client.




The Disability Confident employment strategy

Less than 45% of New Zealand’s disabled population is employed, and a new campaign from the Minister for Disability Issues is again a little hit and miss.

The Disability Confident campaign aims to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, but in order to be successful, employers must be willing to forgo some of their pre-conceived ideas about what’s “best for business”.

Nicky Wagner, the Minister for Disability Issues, says that people with disabilities represent a vast pool of talent that employers can tap into to enhance their workplace. Wagner also touched on a good point in her comments about the campaign. She said that it also gives disabled employees more confidence and economic independence.

The campaign aims to support employers to hire, and retain, disabled employees.

On the MSD website, there is more information about the Disability Confident campaign. A guide can also be found, featuring ‘how-to’s’ for employing disabled staff and a section on what hiring people with disabilities can do for a business. But, like a lot of other attempts to improve opportunities for disabled people in the workforce, this campaign relies on employers being willing to participate.

The fear that I have is that most employers won’t. Attempting to engage the mainstream workforce and the disability community has been done before. To moderate forms of success and failure.

Originally, one of the big principles of Enabling Good Lives focused on creating successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities. However, in order for participants to be eligible for that help, they first needed to be on a living support of some kind.