Paid to sleep

February 18th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Maggie Tait of NZPA reports:

Paying overnight staff to sleep will cost more than $500 million over three years and changing the law may be considered, Health Minister Tony Ryall says.

The Court of Appeal yesterday upheld an earlier Employment Court decision against an IHC provider, which had opposed paying for sleep-over hours. Instead of a shift allowance of about $30, staff would get at least the minimum hourly wage.

If this is the law, then the law needs to change. If you are rostered to be on call then you should get some kind of allowance for this, but to get paid the same rate of pay for sleeping as for actually working is just ridicolous.

Staff know this. This is why they accepted jobs where you get paid at least the minimum wage for hourrs you actually work, and a lesser allowance for merely being on call.

If the law is not changed (or appealed to Supreme Cout) then $500 million will be be spent – and not extra patient or pupil will get better care due to it. It will be $500 million for a zero return. No IHC patient will get better care due to that $500 million.

I note Labour have said they would provide the extra funding. God know what rainbow they think they will find the pot of gold under. Their promises must be getting close to $10b now. Just last night their Botany candidate was promising that ECE funding would be increased to 1% of GDP.

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147 Responses to “Paid to sleep”

  1. Viking2 (11,672 comments) says:

    Plenty ofstaff have been paid for sleeping when they were supposed to be working especially in the days of feather bedding and such. Unions condonned the practice.
    Employers just never caught them or were constrianed from fixing the issue.

    Remove minimum eages and with it reinstate youthrares.
    Maybe the Govt. just might start to listen now they have to findthe extra 500 mil.
    Oh no another tac coming. what will it bet his time.

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  2. decanker (185 comments) says:

    It will be a double rainbow.

    That aside, Trotter made some fair points yesterday… what about shop clerks getting paid less when there are no customers? Fireman not being paid when there are no fires?

    “No IHC patient will get better care due to that $500 million.”

    No, but the under-paid workers will get closer to a wage they deserve.

    I do accept it’s a tough bill to foot, however the Government has known for years that it was a possible/probable expense. There are things they could have done, or not done, to have covered for this.

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  3. Yvette (2,763 comments) says:

    What I do not understand with this issue is why any of it should be retrospective.
    Surely staff to date have accepted the pay conditions and worked them [except maybe for those who have raised the matter in the courts]
    Were staff told “Go ahead and work these hours and remuneration will be worked out later”?
    Can someone say now “The basic pay rate is increased, and I although previously I worked for a lower rate which I agreed to at the time, you should have paid me more then and now owe me back-pay” ?

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  4. first time caller (370 comments) says:

    Don’t forget they go to their hourly rate if they woken…This lower rate really is just for sleeping.

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  5. David Farrar (1,437 comments) says:

    If the shop clerks are able to go into a bedroom and sleep until the next customer, then it might be a valid comparison.

    The under-paid workers have the choice of moving to another job if they think this one does not pay enough.

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  6. jaba (2,146 comments) says:

    when I saw the headline, I thought you were posting about philu

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  7. pidge (56 comments) says:

    I’ve been on call in the past. I was paid a nominal amount for the incovenience of making myself available, and then paid overtime for any work actually performed.

    I would have no problem with the carers being paid on a similar basis i.e. sleep-over allowance of $30/night + pay for time worked, but I can’t tell if this is the situation from the reporting on the court case.

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  8. JC (948 comments) says:

    There’s an interesting point here..

    I doubt there’s an oversupply of people prepared to do these IHC type jobs and this increased payment might improve the situation.

    Of course, the extra cost may also mean there will be fewer jobs available as providers shut up shop.

    JC

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  9. decanker (185 comments) says:

    “The under-paid workers have the choice of moving to another job if they think this one does not pay enough.”

    Nice one, way to look after our most vulnerable. If only we didn’t have a minimum wage, you could offer the job for $5 an hour.

    “If the shop clerks are able to go into a bedroom and sleep until the next customer, then it might be a valid comparison.”

    But they’re not doing much if they’re just sitting there, so just give them a sitting allowance.

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  10. poneke (255 comments) says:

    If you are rostered to be on call then you should get some kind of allowance for this, but to get paid the same rate of pay for sleeping as for actually working is just ridicolous.

    Firefighters are paid to sleep. They have beds at the fire stations for the overnight shift. It is one of the biggest perks of the job and is why so many firefighters have second jobs or run full-time businesses on the side — they work four day shifts, then four night shifts (during which they sleep) then have eight days off.

    The 1990-99 National Government and the Clark Labour Government attempted to change some of the firefighter featherbedding but the union is too strong and firefighters have so much public support that in the end, Mark Burton in abject defeat instructed the NZFS to “give the union whatever it wants.”

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  11. SBY (121 comments) says:

    They’re not paid to sleep. They’re paid to be on call, and they often end up working during those periods

    They do a shitty job and nothing we pay them will ever be enough.

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  12. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    I have a better idea. Adults should be permitted to write a contract for service with other adults at any hourly rate they damned well please. It is an outrage that a third party should feel like it has the right to intervene in that negotiation and say, ‘no, no – you simply cannot under any circumstances sell your labour for that amount, no matter how rational and well informed you are and no matter how much you want the work and no matter how much good it will do”.

    Chris Trotter explained the thinking quite well on radio yesterday, but another concern with this issue seems that it is being applied retrospectively, so that organisations that employed people under one standard are now being forced to apply another after the fact. This is banana republic stuff and quite disturbing actually. A basic principle of law is that you cannot be held liable for a law or principle not established at the time of the “offence”.

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  13. Monty (899 comments) says:

    Firemen are the worst ofenders and work two days on and tow nights on and four days off. At some stations they are paid to sleep. This has set the benchmark.

    Firemen are overpaid as it is. I think a far better solution would be to Pay the workers a sum in the event that there is an issue to attend to. Or if they want to be paid for the overnight accommodation then they work through the night.

    Can someone please explain how sleeping is working?

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  14. MyNameIsJack (2,414 comments) says:

    The under-paid workers have the choice of moving to another job if they think this one does not pay enough.

    They also have the choice of attempting to negotiate a better rate with their employer, do they not?

    And, at least in the case of IHC workers, they’re not being “paid to sleep”; they’re being pad to be available, on site, at a moment’s notice. they are not sleeping in their own bed, in their own homes, with their partner(s). they are, effectively, at work.

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  15. Offshore_Kiwi (505 comments) says:

    $500 million. So an additional week and a half borrowing at current rates.

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  16. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Nice one, way to look after our most vulnerable. If only we didn’t have a minimum wage, you could offer the job for $5 an hour

    Decanker – I’d be rather more concerned about all the people who will no longer be receiving assistance. Unlike the people providing assistance, who are presumably able and have options to work elsewhere, those needing assistance have no alternatives, and massively raising the cost of those assistants can only reduce the amount of that service that can be provided.

    It’s all very well saying these people have a hard job and deserve more, but putting up the price must reduce the amount of services that will be provided. Depriving the needy of assistance is not fair in my view, because they really have no alternatives.

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  17. decanker (185 comments) says:

    “another concern with this issue seems that it is being applied retrospectively, so that organisations that employed people under one standard are now being forced to apply another after the fact”

    I’d agree with this. While I don’t know, I’d be surprised if the organisations were being actively deceitful. They were likely just applying an accepted standard.

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  18. MyNameIsJack (2,414 comments) says:

    So, ben and Monty. Why aren’t you firies?

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  19. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    They also have the choice of attempting to negotiate a better rate with their employer, do they not?

    MNIJ – yes, they do, absolutely. But here they have co-opted the government and its destructive rules on minimum wage. What they will find is that, if this ruling sticks, they have just priced themselves out of the market, so now a) many will be looking for work, and b) many needy people will lose help. This is not social justice.

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  20. OliverI (112 comments) says:

    By my tally Labour are on 5.5billion now and growing….

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  21. MyNameIsJack (2,414 comments) says:

    So ben, what, in your great mind, is the correct rate to pay these employees?

    Come on, be brave, put a price on their labour.

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  22. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    decanker

    They were likely just applying an accepted standard.

    Yes, this has to be right – the new standard was only developed this week and they couldn’t possibly have known about it when they made these agreements before that.

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  23. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    DPF, are you assuming that the people who do this kind of work do it as some sort of hobby/moonlighting thing in addition to a “real job”? Or do they do it for a living?

    Bear in mind that caring for some of these people is far from easy and involves dealing with unusual behaviour, as well as dealing with calls during the night for personal hygiene etc.

    If this is the only work they have, and let’s imagine they work five days a week for 8 rostered hours per night, that earns them a gross $140 per week at the reported average of $3.50 per hour. How do they earn a living? How many hours a week (whether asleep or awake) should they have to be away from their own families in order to earn that living?

    [DPF: It is most unlikely that anyone only does the on call roster, and does not also work hours during the day for which they get paid the full rate. If this was not the case, then they could easily have a second job.]

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  24. Monty (899 comments) says:

    Jack – I am not a fireman because I would not want to be part of an organisation where you sit around eating scones, bitchin all day about management, working out how to rort the system for extra pay, and being forced to vote Labour because of union lies and pressure from your collegues.

    In addition, although Firemen are overpaid and arrogant and precious and have a strong militant union, I still earn far more than the averge overpaid fireman.

    Having worked for the Fire Service some years ago, I know several of the guys in the service. There are on an individual basis some bloody good people and when they are on the job they do a very good job, (go past a car accident or be involved is some rescue and there is no one else you would want more on your team. But saying that they are still paid for going to sleep half their working career.

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  25. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    MNIJ

    Come on, be brave, put a price on their labour.

    Sure. The answer is the price that clears the market for their labour, which emerges from negotiation between employers an employees, provided there is no monopoly or monopsony problem, which there surely is not in this case. That is the answer to your question.

    If the government steps in, as it does here, and insists on a minimum wage that is above these clearing rates, which it surely is, then demand for labour is necessarily reduced, so few disabled people receive assistance, and excess supply of labour is created, also known as unemployment. Those are the costs, and in welfare terms the gains made by those lucky enough to keep their jobs do not offset them.

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  26. dave (821 comments) says:

    but to get paid the same rate of pay for sleeping as for actually working is just ridicolous.

    Some MPs get paid to sleep in the House. And their pay doesnt get docked.

    [DPF: Bullshit. In fact MPs are the exact opposite to this. Even if the House goes into extraordinary urgency, and MPs have to work throughout the night without sleep – they don’t get paid one cent extra]

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  27. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Are they insisting on tea breaks every two hours? Will it affect maximum length of shift allowed?

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  28. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    If the law is not changed (or appealed to Supreme Cout) then $500 million will be be spent – and not extra patient or pupil will get better care due to it. It will be $500 million for a zero return. No IHC patient will get better care due to that $500 million.

    Well, actually, better pay should attract better and more qualified workers, so saying there would be no improvement isn’t quite true.

    Being on call is not quite comparable either, because at least you are at home in your own environment, while at a sleep over your are basically at work.

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  29. RightNow (7,014 comments) says:

    I think it’s inevitable that staffing levels will have to increase at these facilities and the staff will no longer be able to sleep while working. Why pay one person when you can get two for the same price? Those on night shifts can do cleaning when not busy.
    Of course it will raise the cost of caring for the clients. I think public servants can expect not to have large pay increases this year, but I’m sure they’ll understand it’s for the greater good. At least it will create a few extra jobs.

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  30. YesWeDid (1,056 comments) says:

    So DPF, you now support the government passing legislation to overturn court decisions it doesn’t like?

    Because if you do, that would be a pretty f&*ken big U turn on your part.

    [DPF: Parliament can always trump the courts. I do not support any law change being retrospective – but to allow employment contracts in the future to state that one does not need to pay the minimum wage when someone is sleeping instead of working]

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  31. pidge (56 comments) says:

    I would like to know if the $30/night was the all that was/is paid, or the allowance for a sleep over, in addition to payment for work carried out in that time. Anybody?

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  32. MyNameIsJack (2,414 comments) says:

    So, ben, you can’t put a price on it, just regurgitate something you read (probably on a right wing blog).

    Come on, man up, name a figure.

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  33. gravedodger (1,575 comments) says:

    @ decanker some things we do now just wont happen if subjected to the minimum wage laws and I for one think the higher Minimum wage level means some work is not done and youth unemployment soars.

    This ruling will mean lower manning levels closing very suitable smaller local institutions, development of larger centralised facilities where on duty (not just on call) staff will be economically appropriate.

    There are many on call situations in NZ that have no pay or a minimal availability reward for being on call.
    Search and rescue, volunteer fire and ambulance, civil defense, mountain rescue, Red Cross, rural fire parties all work under this system and then most have no remuneration for time spent working/serving except sometimes remuneration lost is recoverable and if all those people had to be paid minimum wages for sleeping the world would grind to a halt.

    These sleepover carers mostly do that work under the existing conditions as it fits their lifestyle and much as I loathe a law to cover it IMHO this is the only solution as the judges have built a very large molehill.

    I do 24/7 call status every alternative month as it suits my personal situation and on call remuneration is just an economic and practical impossibility. I get the grand sum of $5.50 if called out for the first 4 hours and another $5 for a second 4 hours consecutive. The first is travel refund and the second a meal allowance. It, so far touch wood, has very little effect on my sleep patterns.
    Of course most of the people I and members of my team treat and assist have absolutely no Idea it is unpaid volunteer work we do but that is another matter.

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  34. Lance (2,712 comments) says:

    Yea
    Big victory for the unions.
    After shutting down sheltered workshops they are shutting down residential care.

    Do the unions hate intellectually disabled people?

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  35. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    Disability staff on sleepovers are not on call.

    On call means having at least limited freedom of movement so long as you stay within contact distance. Some form of allowance is perfectly appropriate.

    These workers sleep over to deal with emergencies, when one occurs they have to be right there, right now. They are working and should be paid accordingly.

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  36. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    No Lance, unions love you dearly.

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  37. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    “better pay should attract better and more qualified workers”

    Huh? It’s only going to attract better qualified sleepers. They won’t get paid any more for working, and they’ll all be trying to get the sleeping jobs, not the working ones.

    Any law that says you must be paid a minimum wage for sleeping must be changed.

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  38. Lance (2,712 comments) says:

    @ Maggie

    So is that like instead of a logical reply?

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  39. redeye (633 comments) says:

    I’d bet penny to a pound there’d be fuck all you that are whining about this that would sleep away from home, in a home for mentally handicapped, for 37.50 a night. In fact I’d bet the same there’d be fuck all of you willing to work an hour for that.

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  40. Michael (913 comments) says:

    The workers I’ve dealt with are great, care about the IHC residents, and are generally underpaid. They work 24hr shifts and can end up dealing with all sorts meaning they can go without a decent sleep. They know they are underpaid because the IHC doesn’t have the funds to cover them fully, but take the work on the basis that it’s a job that pays and it’s doing some good in the community.

    I think most of them will be a bit frightened at the prospect of the Government washing it’s hands of the IHC (it already has bailed them out once, in the 1990s during the reign of Ruth Richardson) and the workers getting nothing. As the demand is still there and the funding will still be available to other organisations, they will take over the houses and set up new watertight contracts for carers that won’t have this minimum wage.

    And the only losers will be the IHC workers.

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  41. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    So much misunderstanding in here it would take a month of Sundays to correct. Maybe I’ll start a blog about it instead.

    But to Yvette at 1.18 pm, the initial ruling in September 2008 by the Employment Relations Authority stated:

    “This issue has been alive for many years. It is of concern to the Authority, although not relevant to this determination, that while the union has been raising this matter with IHC since at least 2001, it has taken until now to support a claim in the
    Authority.”

    I think that provides a solid foundation for retrospectiveness

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  42. jims_whare (408 comments) says:

    Most firemen outside the main centers that attend crashes etc. are voluntary. Very good staff they are but still. Cops will be the same they are paid an on call allowance that doesn’t reflect a minimum ‘wage’ amount – will they be putting their hands out for $13 hr for on call duty?

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  43. Lance (2,712 comments) says:

    And the bullshit argument of the year award goes to redeye !!!!!!

    Well trolled

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  44. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    I don’t see that redeye is trolling, I see that as the crux of the argument. These people are not at home sleeping they are, like firemen, away from home and instantly on call to deal with people who have behavioural and often physical problems. Pay much less than at present and there simply won’t be enough people willing to do the job and that will be to the detriment of the people for whom they care.

    If the idea of their sleeping offends so many, then let’s just dictate they remain awake for their shift like, for instance, a hospital ward nurse, whose job is quite similar. And I don’t hear too many people suggesting nurses are overpaid. Nor do I hear people claiming nurses “do nothing”, even though they have downtimes, because we value what they do do when we need them to do it. So why not IHC carers?

    Or perhaps we pay them nothing when asleep, but then allow them to set a charge-out rate equivalent to, say, a plumber who gets woken up for an emergency call. Given the high needs of the people for whom they’re caring, frequent disturbances are commonplace so the workers might even go for that.

    The alternative is we’re left with no one to care for these people… in which case I expect everyone begrudging paying others to do so will take their turn billeting an IHC client at their house.

    Having said that, retrospectivity is never right (unless of course deceit was involved, and no one’s alleging that in this case).

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  45. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    MyNameIsJack

    So, ben, you can’t put a price on it, just regurgitate something you read (probably on a right wing blog).

    Come on, man up, name a figure.

    Your request is meaningless. Even if there was a number to be quoted, it would be an average that applied to no one. Any market average depends on all kinds of things and so will fluctuate through time. Which day would you like me to tell you a number for? Because it will be different to the day before and the day after. And, precisely because market wages depend on so many things, they are unknowable in advance. You, apparently, do not understand enough to know this. How about you man up and stop talking about things you have no comprehension of.

    The point is to have a process that gets people assistance, and minimum wage is a fast way to deny that to them.

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  46. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    I wonder what part of “we cannot afford this” the moronic left do not get?

    I am not bothered about is at all, the Nat’s (in a rare display of doing what is right) will simply change the law.

    The left can kick and scream as much as they want, it will be fun to watch, at the end of the day the only reply we need give them is this…..

    We won, you lost, eat that!

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  47. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Having said that, retrospectivity is never right (unless of course deceit was involved, and no one’s alleging that in this case).

    It’s not retrospective. We have had a minimum wage for the whole time. It would be retrospective if we passed a law saying: “All you IHC workers who have contracts paying less than the minimum wage, you weren’t entitled to the minimum wage then, even though the law said you were.”

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  48. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    Well explain something to me then Rex. This issue has been around for 10+ years. The employer and union I think agreed to take a test case to the Employment Relations Authority – who ruled in favour of the employee (in September 2008).

    IHC didn’t like it so they took it to the Employment Court – who ruled in favour of the employee (in July 2009).

    Still the IHC didn’t accept the decision so they took it to the Court of Appeal – who ruled in favour of the employee, on Wednesday.

    In the meantime, disability support workers have continued to provide their services for $34, what the IHC believed was correct, not what the employees accepted as correct. Nor have they taken any industrial action over this issue, even though I imagine their patience has been sorely tested.

    I guess the Union could flood the court system with 5000 cases, which is the number sitting in the wings waiting to go, if IHC and their backers want to continue to argue through the legal process.

    While this has taken nearly 3 years to wind its way through the courts, IHC have not put aside one cent in case they were ultimately proved to be wrong. I am left scratching my head here as to who is showing goodwill here, and who is not.

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  49. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    “I’d bet penny to a pound there’d be fuck all you that are whining about this that would sleep away from home, in a home for mentally handicapped, for 37.50 a night. ”

    No, but then I would not apply for the job in the first place.

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  50. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Lance, yes I’ll second that. Redeye: awful comment.

    Someone correctly pointed out that if you have to pay people the same for being on duty or on call, then you’ll just divide your staff count in half and have all your staff on duty all night. That’s the first thing that will happen. I rather suspect though that service levels will drop, since there’s less slack in a system with nobody on call and fewer staff on hand. Hard to know how the equilibrium behaviour will change, which is scary because a) this really matters, and b) it sounds like the court wasn’t really thinking about this aspect of the problem, meaning all kinds of unintended consequences become possible.

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  51. Offshore_Kiwi (505 comments) says:

    ben (3.01pm) what you’re doing is like trying to teach a monkey to speak Chinese. MyNameIsPiesse of shit is a commie arsehole who has as much capability to understand free market economics as a monkey does Chinese.

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  52. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler, the minimum wage should be for working, not for being on call or sleeping. If it isn’t, the law should be changed.

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  53. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler

    It’s not retrospective.

    Oh it is retrospective. On call is not a new idea and we’ve had minimum wages for all this time. Suddenly the courts have declared on call requires a minimum wage and employees are entitled to back pay and firms did not and could not have known this when they hired those employees. If it does meet the technical requirement of being retrospective, it shares all the essential features of it.

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  54. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Offshore: yes, come to think of it, you’re right!

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  55. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    I suppose it is too much to hope that bigbruv actually makes a constrcutive comment. Idea Services have difficulty attracting staff as it is. How the Govt handles this actually has a bearing on the future of how disabled people will be cared for in the future – telling disability support workers “we won, you lost. eat that” will end up creating bigger problems than it solves.

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  56. RRM (10,099 comments) says:

    Those little minions should be grateful for the opportunity to give up their time to help others.

    I mean fuck it’s real work like trading currency and doing market research that is worthy of remuneration. If you’re stupid enough to get into helping the sick, you really deserve everything you get.

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  57. decanker (185 comments) says:

    I didn’t consider redeye to be trolling at all.

    I have a very good friend who is one of these workers whose value is being questioned by some of you above. I don’t know how he does it. His patience, empathy, work ethic and professionalism astounds me. I would say most NZers could not and would not do his job day in day out.

    And these workers aren’t choosing sleep shifts so they can sleep, most are just doing the shifts they’ve been assigned to. Some of you seem to think it’s one of these lifestyle choices that’s a hit with National at the moment.

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  58. Viking2 (11,672 comments) says:

    Or perhaps we pay them nothing when asleep, but then allow them to set a charge-out rate equivalent to, say, a plumber who gets woken up for an emergency call.

    Oh no Rex, not a plumbers rates.
    Cheaper to pay Lawyers rates.

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  59. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    Offshore, I think you under-estimate monkeys. They wouldt have trouble speaking Chinese but they can probably learn to understand quite a bit of it. Maybe if we sent MNIJ to China he could learn to understand market economics. Send Philu too and he might learn to live without the dole or at least learn to appreciate those who pay for his here?

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  60. redeye (633 comments) says:

    Notice no one has put their hand up yet to volunteer. Awful comment? Bit close to the bone Ben?

    From what I hear not many get to sleep an entire night. Most are being woken regularly to attend to some poor unfortunate.

    Good call RRM.

    And trust the idiot Bruv to take it back to a left versus right debate. Selling 2nd cars must be a much more worthwhile occupation.

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  61. decanker (185 comments) says:

    @Alan

    “Maybe if we sent MNIJ to China he could learn to understand market economics. ”

    What kind of market economics are you suggesting? Certainly not free.

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  62. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    “And these workers aren’t choosing sleep shifts so they can sleep, most are just doing the shifts they’ve been assigned to.”

    I don’t think that’s the point. The issue is whether they are being paid to be on-call or to be working. Can someone clarify just what the judgment says?

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  63. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    decanker, I suspect they would be rather more free than he would like.

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  64. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler, the minimum wage should be for working, not for being on call or sleeping. If it isn’t, the law should be changed.

    The minimum wage is for working. We’ve now had three courts: the Employment Relations Authority, the Employment Court, and the Court of Appeal, all look at the facts and determine that what IHC carers are doing is work, and always has been. What was that someone said above “they won, you lost, eat that”?

    If you want to know what retrospective means, wait until the supposed legislation to “fix” this comes. It will tell IHC workers that despite there being a minimum wage for decades, they’ve changed their minds and it didn’t apply to them.

    I’ve done on-call work before. Get a call late the night before: come in to work tomorrow morning, etc. But I didn’t have to spend the day at work waiting for that phonecall; I could, on occasion, say “no”; and I didn’t have to drop everything I was doing immediately.

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  65. Lance (2,712 comments) says:

    @decanker

    Different jobs suit different people. People have different pay aspirations which is usually linked to education/training/experience.
    To be labelled as having no reason to comment because we wouldn’t want to do that job (at that rate) is not a valid argument (and is therefore trolling).
    I wouldn’t want to be a surgeon despite the great money, or a freezing worker and worst of all….. a teacher of teenagers. ewwwwwwww.

    Something like “these people are undervalued” or “it’s a shame on society that these people willing to do this job don’t receive enough reward” would be a valid argument. I might argue with those points but at least they would be valid

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  66. Lance (2,712 comments) says:

    NO… I was right
    redeye is trolling….

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  67. decanker (185 comments) says:

    Lance:

    “NO… I was right
    redeye is trolling….”

    He has head in that direction, yes.

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  68. RightNow (7,014 comments) says:

    In the bigger picture this will ultimately be counted as a positive outcome:

    Night shift duties will be redesigned to not allow for sleeping. A whole lot of new employees will be required, and many are likely to come from the long term unemployed list. This will mean for the first 6 months they will attract a government subsidy (about 50% of the minimum wage IIRC) to make them more affordable to the employer.
    Employment figures get a little boost.

    The cost of the retrospective entitlement will be a great excuse for the government to stop funding Joris de Bres and the likes.

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  69. redeye (633 comments) says:

    Bulldust Lance.

    What’s wrong with the “put yourself in their position” argument.

    Would you make yourself unavailable for anything else, work or relaxation, for $37.50 for an 8 hour stretch.

    And it should be noted these are not unskilled workers.

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  70. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    Graeme, I’ve done plenty of on-call work too and on a salary so no extra pay for carrying a pager.

    My question remains, what is the distinction between being on-call and working? It cannot be left as a matter of discretion for the courts to decide and it must be realistic in the real world not just a legalistic interpretation of a statute.

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  71. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (743 comments) says:

    Meh, these careworkers will be mostly Labour voters so fuck them!

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  72. starriosky (6 comments) says:

    My wife is chair of a trust that runs a church-based provider of mental health rehabilitation. They run on the thinnest of margins. If this is not changed, they are likely to have to close down. Many institutions around the country doing remarkable jobs will be faced with similar decisions. And so thousands of extremely vulnerable people will suddenly be thrown out on the street.

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  73. Grant Michael McKenna (1,110 comments) says:

    Disclaimer: I work as a caregiver with people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders, and am eligible for the award, if it is made.

    The sleepover law has been kicked around for a few years; there was apparently a change to the law or regulations in about 2005/6 that had the effect of making it compulsory to pay a minimum wage to everyone who was at their place of work, even if on standby. There was some debate about it at the time.

    Edit: and I expect this to have a massive impact on the industry if allowed to stand- cutting costs will mean crowding people together, just as in the old days of prison-like institutions.

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  74. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    @ Alan: The various judgements have said:

    In deciding whether sleepovers constitute work for the purposes of this section, the Employment Court found it helpful to consider three factors:
    (a) the constraints placed on the freedom the employee would otherwise have to do as he or she pleases;
    (b) the nature and extent of responsibilities placed on the employee; and
    (c) the benefit to the employer of having the employee perform the role.

    The greater the degree or extent to which each factor applied (ie the greater the constraints, the greater the responsibilities, the greater the benefit to the employer), the more likely it was that the activity in question ought to be regarded as ―work‖. The Court said that the question has to be approached in an ―intensely practical‖ way, adopting what was said by this Court in NZ Fire Service Commission v NZ Professional Firefighters Union.

    All judgements can be accessed from here:
    http://sleepovercase.blogspot.com/

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  75. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (743 comments) says:

    Grant – thank you for your work

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  76. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    Lance, my response to you is what you should expect if you post something silly like; “”Why do unions hate the disabled? Make a sensible contribution next time.

    The government has to sort out its priorities. Where does caring for some of the most vulnerable people of all fit into their list. Ahead of 34 new BMWs?

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  77. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    My question remains, what is the distinction between being on-call and working?

    If you are working your employer gets to tell you what to do and where to be. If you are on-call, it is up to you. etc. It’s not particularly difficult. If it looks like an employee and quacks like an employee, it’s probably an employee.

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  78. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    redeye at 2:15 pm

    I’d bet penny to a pound there’d be fuck all you that are whining about this that would sleep away from home, in a home for mentally handicapped, for 37.50 a night. In fact I’d bet the same there’d be fuck all of you willing to work an hour for that.

    But they don’t just get paid 37.50 for a shift do they? They would normally also work at normal (low) pay rates before sleep time and after sleep time, plus any hours “called out” during the night.

    If I work out of town should I be paid all hours I’m away including sleep time?

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  79. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Does this apply to army types? Should they we getting paid the minimum wage while snoozing overseas while deployed or when on exercise in some bleak area near Waiouru?

    And what about business travel? I sometimes spend weeks away in Australia when I’m not able to do normal things like see friends and family. Should I put in a claim for 8 hours minimum wage a night while I’m away?

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  80. Inventory2 (9,373 comments) says:

    There’s one interesting dynamic to this. Darien Fenton and other Labour MP’s are cock-a-hoop over this “victory for the workers” But doesn’t this legal action pre-date the 2008 election? Where was Ms Fenton, and where were her Labour colleagues between 2005 and 2008?

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  81. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    @ pete who said “If I work out of town should I be paid all hours I’m away including sleep time?”

    No. The ERA said in their original judgement “another scenario is where workers are on assignment overnight from time to
    time and even for longer periods. They are away from their family, but are otherwise free to do as they wish when not conducting work engagements, and this does not constitute work.”

    Some of you really need, before opening your mouths, to go and read some of the judgements and understand why the courts have defined as work what disabilty support workers are doing. Throwing up apples and oranges comparisons just highlights your ignorance.

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  82. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    @ Inventory2 I completely agree with you. The disability area has been shabbily treated by both Labour and National Govts and neither should claim any credit … but of course the nature of politicians dictate that this case which actually is apolitical is used for political benefit.

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  83. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    [DPF: It is most unlikely that anyone only does the on call roster, and does not also work hours during the day for which they get paid the full rate. If this was not the case, then they could easily have a second job.]

    So they sleep away from home at night, work during the day … when do they get time to be husbands, wives, parents?

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  84. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    Some MPs get paid to sleep in the House. And their pay doesnt get docked.

    [DPF: Bullshit. In fact MPs are the exact opposite to this. Even if the House goes into extraordinary urgency, and MPs have to work throughout the night without sleep – they don’t get paid one cent extra]

    Tell me DPF, what is the base salary for MP’s? (Note: SALARY, not per hour wage). Then tell me what is the per hour wage of a disability support worker on night shift?

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  85. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    Staff know this. This is why they accepted jobs where you get paid at least the minimum wage for hourrs you actually work, and a lesser allowance for merely being on call.

    Fine, then they can be on call at their own home and in their own bed.

    If they are required to sleep over at a patients house and be on call whilst there, then that is another matter and there needs to be remuneration acceptable to all parties – maybe not ah hourly rate, but a lump sum payment then hourly rate for any time worked should be the minimum. Hell – whenever I’ve been on call I demand $500/week regardless if there are any calls, and I get to sleep in my own bed, at my own home.

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  86. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    Graeme & Robboy: Just to clarify, I was criticising retrospective legislating, not suggesting that a court ought not to rule that the law as it existed be applied a certain way from a set time in the past. That’s different.

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  87. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    There’s one interesting dynamic to this. Darien Fenton and other Labour MP’s are cock-a-hoop over this “victory for the workers” But doesn’t this legal action pre-date the 2008 election? Where was Ms Fenton, and where were her Labour colleagues between 2005 and 2008?

    Exactly! They can hardly hold themselves out as the champions of disability workers when they did fuck all to change the practice over 9 years!

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  88. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Staff know this. This is why they accepted jobs where you get paid at least the minimum wage for hours you actually work, and a lesser allowance for merely being on call.

    1. They are not merely on call. If this was the case, they’d have lost.

    2. This is an argument against the minimum wage. There are a number of sensible arguments against the minimum wage, but given that we have one, this is a consequence: when people are working (and these people are) they are entitled to be paid it, no matter what their contract says. That’s what a minimum wage is.

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  89. Graeme Edgeler (2,972 comments) says:

    Exactly! They can hardly hold themselves out as the champions of disability workers when they did fuck all to change the practice over 9 years!

    I expect they felt exactly the same way from the Government *backbenches*. They just couldn’t say it publicly.

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  90. redeye (633 comments) says:

    If I work out of town should I be paid all hours I’m away including sleep time?

    I think someone else covered this but I’d like to add, for emphasis, that they don’t have adult movies available in IHC houses, they can’t whip down to the bar for a night cap & they can’t ‘do a Dime’ and order up a paid partner. All of which I presume you could do if you so desired when your out of town.

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  91. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    I expect they felt exactly the same way from the Government *backbenches*. They just couldn’t say it publicly.

    Then my contempt for them has risen, they should have shown some spine instead of being nothing more than sychophantic yes (wo)men. All they and Labour look now, is like a bunch of hypocrites – how many times now have they ranted and raved at the Nat government for some injustice that they either ignored or profited from for 9 years?

    No excuses, they are hypocrites.

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  92. wreck1080 (3,999 comments) says:

    You are not necessarily sleeping. each case will be different .

    Some IHC people will be yelling out and making demands all through the night.

    It’s not a nice job.

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  93. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Typical NZ self destruction.

    Dopey Judge’s make dumb decision that our banana republic can’t afford.

    Sleeping people are working just as hard as awake people! :)

    I can understand it.

    The decision falls into line with all the others that our dozy Judges make.

    Time they were all replaced with a jury of our peers.

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  94. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    Robboy, thanks for the info. I don’t see why (c) should apply. The value of the work (surely extremely subjective anyway) seems quite irrelevant to the obligations being placed on the employee.

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  95. paws (197 comments) says:

    Lets just leave the old,the infirmed the handicaped etc on their own every night ,hose them down every morning with icy water to hurry them along towards death then we wont have upset type posts from Mr Farrar.These old infirmed cretins are dole bludgers and should be out looking for work ps we could put the nightly corpses on the futures market ,hone key could sell them on.So posters for $12.50 ph would you now wipe some old codgers arse at 2.55am YER RIGHT

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  96. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    “Paid to sleep” – title of phool’s forthcoming autobiography

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  97. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    paws a.k.a JSF you are an idiot. If you could read you’d see that, as DPF says, this $500 million doesn’t result in one single extra arse-wiper than is currently employed.

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  98. paws (197 comments) says:

    The rightous rich ALWAYS abuse and look down on the frail in NZ society,as i said for 12.50 a hour would you PIA wipe arses and clean up sick at 2 am??? i dont think so
    $12.50 is better than small change
    (paws you are an idiot)yep the average response you can expect,

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  99. annie (539 comments) says:

    On call is when you are at home and can be called in, not when you are on site at work, whatever you’re doing.

    I realise the providers are in a financial bind, but shifting costs onto workers is inappropriate.

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  100. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    The rightous rich ALWAYS abuse and look down on the frail in NZ society,as i said for 12.50 a hour would you PIA wipe arses and clean up sick at 2 am???

    You are actually not helping the debate at all, you contribution is just as piss useless as people saying they shouldn’t be paid at all.

    I wish both of the extreme groups would just fuck off for a change! You do nothing for the debate except get everyones backs up and pissed off.

    My opinion,
    * Disability workers should not be paid their standard or even a minimum wage for the entire time they are on call, if they are sleeping they should not be paid for it.
    * Disability workers should expect an on call fee for being required to be on call at a residence other than their own.
    * Disability workers should be paid for any work they under take while on call at T1.5 if they have already performed a full 8hr work the previous day.

    Their union could negotiate a very good remuneration package if they wanted to, but like always the union is too fucken useless and falls back to good old socialist doctrine.

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  101. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    I realise the providers are in a financial bind, but shifting costs onto workers is inappropriate.

    Annie, thats fine – but don’t expect them to remain in NZ. Speaking as someone with a moderate amount of knowledge of the Queensland aged, respite and disability care – workers of all fields are highly sort after – in fact I’d say we are facing quite a shortage, and the pay and conditions are much better than the NZ minimum wage and a tiny payment for the overnight respite.

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  102. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Of course I am fairly sure that we pay Firemen for being asleep on duty.

    However they are of course jolly good Chap’s/Chapess’s who feature right up there with Pilot/ Pilotess’s in popularity. :)

    And also have a bloody good union. :)

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  103. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    And also have a bloody good union

    I think you’ll find its also that the public believes they all run into burning buildings to same peoples lives.

    Maybe Disability Workers need to start running into buildings screaming: “Someone must wipe that arse!”

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  104. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    @ Bevan: yeah that’s an issue. I know of plenty of these disability support workers who have left NZ for semi-decent employment conditions in Australia, and the reaction to the Court of Appeal decision by right-wing luddites led by the Minister of Health will just hasten that exodus.

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  105. annie (539 comments) says:

    # Bevan (3,237) Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I realise the providers are in a financial bind, but shifting costs onto workers is inappropriate.

    Annie, thats fine – but don’t expect them to remain in NZ. Speaking as someone with a moderate amount of knowledge of the Queensland aged, respite and disability care – workers of all fields are highly sort after – in fact I’d say we are facing quite a shortage, and the pay and conditions are much better than the NZ minimum wage and a tiny payment for the overnight respite.

    Bevan, I am agreeing with you. I think the workers should be paid properly unless they are tucked up in their own beds, own house, freedom to come and go. If they are at home and on call they should be paid the basic on call allowance.
    If on site, they are working and should be paid appropriately.

    Stiffing the people who work providing support for the disabled is unacceptable. Also, most workers would find it unacceptable – we might have less trouble staffing places well if people were treated fairly.

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  106. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    “Someone must wipe that arse!”

    If you have ever had to wipe an oldies arse (other than your own) you would have to believe that they don’t get paid enough.

    However paying full rates while someone is on standby seems like another stupid decision by the Judiciary as it will only penalize the oldies who rely on help like this.

    Judges of course protected by their constant greedy pay rise’s don’t live in the real world like the rest of us.

    Banana Republic here we come.

    The old farts (Judges) will want bodyguards of course (gratis) when the populace rises against them. :)

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  107. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Decanker

    And these workers aren’t choosing sleep shifts so they can sleep, most are just doing the shifts they’ve been assigned to.

    You know, the sort of generalisation you’re making here is ludicrous. How could you possibly know that?

    But even then, it is irrelevant, because even if they do not have the choice on which shift to take in that job, they have choices in other work – unless you contention is that this is the one and only job in the country or indeed the planet for which they are capable or qualified. Are none of the 20,000 jobs on Trademe suitable? Because if any of them are, you don’t have a point.

    I don’t doubt for one second that this is a job that has unpleasant aspects to it, or that there are also rewards. But this is irrelevant. All jobs require some combination of skill, professionalism, and putting up with unpleasantness. For each job a wage emerges as a product of peoples’ willingness to do the job and employers willingess to pay. In this particular job, the wage that has emerged happens to be below the minimum wage on an hourly basis. But at that wage, suitably skilled and professional people are willing to apply to do the job, and not apply for the many thousands of other jobs that are open. The job must therefore have rewards (and downsides) not captured in the wage. It has to – there can be no other explanation for why people apply for this job and not all the thousands of others. The people who choose to apply and who choose to stay are far, far better informed about their own circumstances and preferences than we will ever be. How about, you know, trusting their judgment rather than making up their minds for them.

    Minimum wage, if enforced, will put many of them out of a job. That means less assistance, and unemployment. It is easy to demonstrate the losses from this outweigh the gains from the lucky few who remain employed.

    In view of this, it is ridiculous for the government step in and to say, on one dimension of many for a job, no agreement can be legally struck between consenting employee and consenting employer that this one aspect of the job – the wage – be set below a certain amount. There can only be downside from this requirement, the first and most obvious being a) unemployment, and b) less assistance to the needy.

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  108. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    ps nice not to have a thread poisoned with Philu.

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  109. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    If you have ever had to wipe an oldies arse (other than your own) you would have to believe that they don’t get paid enough.

    Irrelevant. Yep not pleasant. But nevertheless the worker has agreed to a wage for a job that does that. If they didnt know about that aspect of it, then they are free to leave. There are thousands of job openings listed. They are free to apply and get other work.

    Plainly, the wage is enough to get them to selewct that job over all other opportunities.

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  110. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    @ Ben:

    (1) And these workers aren’t choosing sleep shifts so they can sleep, most are just doing the shifts they’ve been assigned to.
    You know, the sort of generalisation you’re making here is ludicrous. How could you possibly know that?

    I’ll lend you my copy of the Collective Agreement between IHC and SFWU where workers are required to work sleepover shifts (i.e. it’s not optional)

    (2) please read my post at 3.03 p.m.:

    In the meantime, disability support workers have continued to provide their services for $34, what the IHC believed was correct, not what the employees accepted as correct.

    The fact that disability support workers continue to provide their services even though they believe they are incorrrectly paid says more about their goodwill than whatever “market forces” argument you care to dream up. The alternative is they all fuck off and not give a stuff about the care of a section of disadvantaged members of society, what would you prefer?

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  111. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    I’ve read the Court of Appeal judgment and I do not believe it makes any strong distinction between being on-call and these “sleep-overs”. One of the overseas judgments quoted approvingly involved people at home taking occasional phone calls.

    I have major issues with anyone who takes on a contract with certain conditions and then subsequently seeks to have it overturned in their favour. I expect the consequence will be that the employer will in future reduce the “normal” hourly rate offered to take account of the extra hours now required to be paid for.

    The Court of Appeal also comments that the law may be required to be changed as a consequence of this decision and does not contemplate modern variations of employment.

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  112. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    “Irrelevant.”

    Have you ever wiped an old relatives arse Ben?

    I have. I didn’t do it for the money I did it because the person was my mother.

    I did it till I couldn’t do it anymore and then I paid someone else to do it.

    You are a silly little boy who has never lived in the real world.

    The people who clean up the shit for us deserve a living wage and they deserve to be paid a higher percentage than they were getting for when they have to sleep over with the patient.

    I don’t think they deserve the same rate for both but the learned Judge disagrees.

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  113. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    “I don’t think they deserve the same rate for both but the learned Judge disagrees.”

    No, the judges said the “sleep over” hours qualified for the minimum wage rate, not at his normal pay rate.

    The judgment was not about what the work was worth, it was about whether it was work or not.

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  114. slightlyrighty (2,096 comments) says:

    Great.

    Can we now assume that an Army Private on a six month deployment to Afghanistan, where he could be required to stand to at any time, be paid $60000 for six months work? Even though he will be asleep for up to a third of that time?

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  115. slightlyrighty (2,096 comments) says:

    Of course the end result could well be the return to institutionalised care, as community based care could now be unaffordable.

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  116. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    Yes, not to mention every naval rating sleeping aboard ship who might be called on deck if the weather packs up or any other kind of trouble occurs – or any other seaman or fisherman for that matter.

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  117. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Most caregivers are on the minimum rate (or close to it) Alan so it is splitting hairs a bit.

    I disagree with the Judge in that I don’t feel caregivers should get a full wage for sleeping over but they should get a bit more than they were.

    Say half rates or such like.

    Firemen have got their full rate for years for being asleep (which I believe is unjustified).

    Care givers should get more than they are being paid at the moment.

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  118. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    The alternative is they all fuck off and not give a stuff about the care of a section of disadvantaged members of society, what would you prefer?

    Which is precisely when and why the wage must then go up. The one and only reason the industry is able to get replies to job ads posted at the current wage is because the job offers a combination of wages, satisfaction, work choice, unpleasantness, etc, that is enough to attract applicants. There’s no getting around it. Everybody wants to be paid more. The question is why these workers selected this line of work if they could do better elsewhere. There are thousands of other jobs going. The answer must be that the wages were satisfactory for them when they applied, and continue to be for they stay.

    When you do not pay enough then people do not apply to work. Hospitals in NZ a continuously short staffed in some areas because they pay below the going rate, for example.

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  119. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    I think you guys are being a little naive/provocative.

    Servicemen/women get paid to do those hours. The money is not to bad and the fringe benefits are substantial.

    Caregivers are poorly paid and get fuckall fringe benefits.

    It would not hurt to give them a tad more but not what the learned ( :) ) Judge is suggesting.

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  120. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Johnboy – ok, you’ve been through hell. But you are mistaking a general view about how and why wages are set, and the tremendous downsides to government interference (unemployment, less health care), for disrespect. I am not disrespecting workers who do this by saying it is wrong (i.e. harmful) for government to step in and make it illegal to hire them for less than a certain wage, even when they freely agree to it. Quite the opposite. The entirely predictable consequence of this court decision is that many of these workers will be made unemployed and fewer people will receive assistance. Only by ignoring this obvious fact can you pretend to be on the side of health workers.

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  121. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    The normal pay rate was $17.66 for this guy. The minimum wage rate was $12.50 so there was a significant difference.

    As I said, the judges were deciding if the hours were “worked”, not how much they should be paid. The law is black and white when it needs to be grey. That is why it will probably be changed.

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  122. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    It would not hurt to give them a tad more but not what the learned ( ) Judge is suggesting.

    $500 million in back pay buys a hospital or university or two, or $500 in the back pocket for every family in the country.

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  123. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Well hell Ben I agree with you that huge increases in salaries will result in less services by government so what would you suggest is a fair rate to pay someone who stays away from their own home/family overnight to take care of a mental/incontinent/paralyzed/elderly person.

    Bear in mind the sparky who replaced a faulty inverter at work the other day charged $65/hr. :)

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  124. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    “$500 million in back pay buys a hospital or university or two”

    Hell ben we seem to have enough uni grads. The ones we create are all heading overseas. :)

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  125. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    so what would you suggest is a fair rate to pay someone who stays away from their own home/family overnight to take care of a mental/incontinent/paralyzed/elderly person.

    The only possible answer is that I would leave that up to them to negotiate that with an employer. That’s because there is no “fair” number. For many, in fact most people I suspect, that combination of low wage and type of work isn’t a good fit for them. What’s fair must be judged according to the preferences of the people who choose to take them, over all the other available work choices.

    The one and only question is whether the wages and conditions are sufficient to convince enough suitably qualified, skilled and professional people to apply for the positions on offer, taking into account what we cannot see: the preferences and circumstances of the people applying. The presumption must be that these people knew what they were doing when they decided that the position on offer was worth applying for. You and I apparently agree it is not for us – but for some people it is a fit, as demonstrated by the admirable willingness to work there.

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  126. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Hell ben we seem to have enough uni grads. The ones we create are all heading overseas.

    Absolutely agree. I’d take the 500 bucks if I could.

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  127. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    “The one and only question is whether the wages and conditions are sufficient to convince enough suitably qualified, skilled and professional people to apply for the positions on offer, taking into account what we cannot see: the preferences and circumstances of the people applying. ”

    People who take jobs wiping butts etc. are not very qualified for much else Ben.

    Mostly they do it cause they need the money.

    They still should receive a fair payment for the service they carry out and if they are expected to stay over away from their homes at night that should be recognised either in the base salary or expense’s for the time they spend at night.

    I don’t think that they should be paid the same rate for actual work versus sleepover hours but it would appear that the current difference is too much hence the stupid decision by the Judge.

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  128. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    @ Alan W: you state “I have major issues with anyone who takes on a contract with certain conditions and then subsequently seeks to have it overturned in their favour”

    Please note the original judgement from the ERA (Sept 2008) which states:

    This issue has been alive for many years. It is of concern to the Authority, although not relevant to this determination, that while the union has been raising this matter with IHC since at least 2001, it has taken until now to support a claim in the
    Authority.

    In other words, workers have accepted their conditions even though they haven’t necessarily believed in them, since 2001. It is not a case of trying to overturn an employment contract to their favour, it is a case of continuing to provide a service (since 2001) even though the workers did not necessarily agree with the conditions in which they were employed.

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  129. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    @ Ben: You are seriously deluded. Idea Services have been under-staffed for a number of years. The disability sector has major issues surrounding providing residential care 24/7

    For you to suggest that “the one and only reason the industry is able to get replies to job ads posted at the current wage is because the job offers a combination of wages, satisfaction, work choice, unpleasantness, etc, that is enough to attract applicants” shows you don’t have a fucking clue what you are talking about.

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  130. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    For you to suggest that “the one and only reason the industry is able to get replies to job ads posted at the current wage is because the job offers a combination of wages, satisfaction, work choice, unpleasantness, etc, that is enough to attract applicants” shows you don’t have a fucking clue what you are talking about.

    Oh really. And how else do you explain the willingness of people to work in the sector?

    The wage is not the only aspect of a job. We cannot presume to know why people elect to apply to for a job with such low pay on offer, but let me speculate that among those that do, the hours and the work and the wage and the location and the people they work with works for them. Afterall, there are, as I said, thousands of alternative jobs that pay more.

    Now, Robboy, if you’re going to insult me, then explain why else people apply for a job if not because the combination of wage, conditions, and hours works for them. Why? There are thousands of other jobs. What on earth can cause these people to voluntarily apply for these positions if not for the conditions and wage combination?

    Secondly, explain why it is good that rather than having say 12 people on call, its better to fire most of them have 3 or 4 on duty the entire night. Because that is obviously what is going to happen when on call costs the about the same as on duty. Think about it. What is caring about making rules that force these organisations to let go most of their staff when they are demonstably willing and able to work at a rate other than what the state says is “acceptable”? Why?

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  131. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    @ Ben: You are seriously deluded. Idea Services have been under-staffed for a number of years. The disability sector has major issues surrounding providing residential care 24/7

    Well arbitrarily forcing the wage up by 2-3 times without any consideration of the going rate and requiring $500 million in backpay seems like overkill, and a recipe for disaster. Nice for the lucky few who keep their jobs, although they won’t be allowed to sleep any more. You’re the fuckwit all but demanding the dismissal of most of these people and the elimination of a good deal of assistance to the disabled.

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  132. Chris2 (775 comments) says:

    This is the price one must pay for various Government releasing these mentally disabled people into the community. It was far cheaper to have 300 people locked up at Porirua with just a dozen staff to look after them overnight, then it was to re-home them, five at a time, into 60 houses, each with it s own overnight supervisor.

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  133. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    Bevan, I am agreeing with you.

    Sorry Annie, misread your post.

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  134. Bevan (3,232 comments) says:

    This is the price one must pay for various Government releasing these mentally disabled people into the community. It was far cheaper to have 300 people locked up at Porirua with just a dozen staff to look after them overnight, then it was to re-home them, five at a time, into 60 houses, each with it s own overnight supervisor.

    WTF? We’re not talking about fucken deranged criminals! We’re talking about the kind of people with Downs or Turners syndrome – not schizophrenic murderers. What right does society have to lock them up just because they are intellectually handicapped?

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  135. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    Johnboy’s solution makes sense. It may be possible for the union and employers to negotiate a sleepover payment which is more than an oncall allowance, but less than a hourly rate. This would recognise the tight financial situation of the employers.

    But, even then, the government could have to be prepared to come to the party.

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  136. MT_Tinman (3,315 comments) says:

    Johnboy (4,292) Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 9:50 pm
    “The one and only question is whether the wages and conditions are sufficient to convince enough suitably qualified, skilled and professional people to apply for the positions on offer, taking into account what we cannot see: the preferences and circumstances of the people applying. ”

    People who take jobs wiping butts etc. are not very qualified for much else Ben.

    Mostly they do it cause they need the money.

    To a certain you are correct Johnboy, I have had some experience with this.

    The people doing these jobs do them because they (the jobs) require no effort in, for example, studying or bettering themselves to get or do the job.

    The only qualification you need is the desire to sleep elsewhere for a night and be prepared to get up if needed, i.e. be a parent to the household.

    In fact many do the job because it gives them study time.

    Most others do them because they are mentally lazy.

    Good on ‘em for that but they accepted the job with those conditions attached. That should be the end of it.

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  137. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    “It may be possible for the union and employers to negotiate a sleepover payment which is more than an oncall allowance, but less than a hourly rate. This would recognise the tight financial situation of the employers.”

    And it may be possible for the government to change the law.

    You have to laugh at the weasel words from our unionist Maggie, when things are not looking like they are going to go the way of the union she attempts to word the issue in such a way as to make the government seem unreasonable.
    Since when has any union every cared about the financial state of the employers?, it is always about how the bosses are out to screw the workers etc, etc.

    These people knew the terms and conditions when they started the job, each and every one of them will claim that they have the best interest of the patients at heart when the reality is that some low life union scum has seen a way for these “workers” to screw extra money from the tax payer so the workers have jumped on board, the concern or care of the patients is not something the unions or the workers give a toss about.

    Does the union care that this money is intended for front line medical services?….nope, the could not care less, this is all about screwing the government.

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  138. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    Nah I’d rather laugh at more BS coming out of BB’s mouth. Unions care as much for the financial state of employers as Governments do for ensuring contracted services serve the interests of workers.

    This case hit the courts in 2008 and IHC’s sleepover allowance was $34. In 2011, IHC’s sleepover allowance is still $34, thanks to their arm being twisted so far up their back by Govt funding. Yeah yeah reasonable government, whatever.

    Sure workers have their terms and conditions, but have been fighting this issue since 2001 – 10 years. Yeah, they could refuse to sign their contracts and resolve this matter through more confrontational means; the fact they don’t and haven’t for 10 years shows they do have the care of the patients at heart and for you to suggest they “don’t give a toss” just shows up your ignorance and you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

    If you want to keep throwing out the fact that they’ve signed on the dotted line despite not actually agreeing with a certain provision, I sincerely hope next time contracts are negotiated they all piss off either through resigning or striking and let you solve the mess of 4000 disabled citizens in residential facilities without any care. Seems like that’s your preferable way to resolve this issue.

    @MT Tinman – there’s a bit more to the job than just being a babysitter – it’s probably halfway between being a parent and being a nurse.

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  139. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    It is a pity Big Bruv has to spoil a sensible debate with his usual diet of acidic vitriol.

    There is a solution to this issue, but it needs three parties, not two. The union has to recognise the employers don’t have deep pockets, the employers have to realise they have been pretty mean with a dedicated group of workers.

    The government must recognise it has to stump up with some cash.

    Big Bruv would prefer to live in a dictatorship than a co-operative society. Perhaps North Korea would suit him better.

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  140. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    “The government must recognise it has to stump up with some cash.”

    That means you, Maggie. Prepared to pay more tax?

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  141. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    Well, I didn’t have a choice when they threw $1.6 billion at SCF, which will ultimately cost the taxpayer once assets are realised somewhere in the vicinity of $300 million perhaps? – a similar figure to what we are talking about here.

    I don’t think there is one person on earth who completely agrees 100% with what a Govt spends taxpayers money on. It’s a bit of a red herring Alan – expressing an opinion on whether or not the “Govt should stump up with some cash” doesn’t necessarily imply an acceptance of increasing the tax take – it can just as easily be a commentary on spending priorities.

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  142. dandy (12 comments) says:

    “[DPF: It is most unlikely that anyone only does the on call roster, and does not also work hours during the day for which they get paid the full rate. If this was not the case, then they could easily have a second job.]”

    DPF, you’re just plain wrong. The whole NZ diability and healthcare system, and those of virtually every developed country rely on workers who prefer to work overnight on-call shifts, usually for family reasons- this makes up for a significant number who hate working them.

    It seems strange to me that these workers aren’t paid the full rate, when doctors, nurses, medlab workers, radiographers, and a raft of other health professionals get paid full rates for sleeping on-site overnight. Maybe you should take your argument to these groups too, or is it just that disability workers are an easy target?

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  143. Maggie (672 comments) says:

    What Robboy said.

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  144. Alan Wilkinson (1,933 comments) says:

    “expressing an opinion on whether or not the “Govt should stump up with some cash” doesn’t necessarily imply an acceptance of increasing the tax take – it can just as easily be a commentary on spending priorities.”

    It almost always means that other people should pay more tax and most often comes from people who pay no net tax. Is that not Maggie’s case?

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  145. Dirty Rat (504 comments) says:

    wreck1080 (1,413) Says:

    February 18th, 2011 at 5:55 pm
    “You are not necessarily sleeping. each case will be different .

    Some IHC people will be yelling out and making demands all through the night.

    It’s not a nice job”

    That is the essence of the whole argument and the best comment by far on this thread.

    Farrar, why arent you attacking parents who progenerated these offspring and have put them in the hands of other people ?

    1 + 1 doesnt equal 2 in this case, thats really hard to explain to a stats geek

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  146. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    Where will the money come from?

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  147. Robboy (49 comments) says:

    Same place as the $1.7 billion paid for SCF

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