The Alliance Party says residential support workers in the disability sector should be paid the minimum wage for sleepovers, and the Government needs to come to the party.
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says it’s amazing the Government plans to give money to lawyers to help mount an appeal on the Employment Court ruling, rather than ensure that support workers are paid for being on the job.
The Employment Court has ruled that night workers be paid the minimum hourly rate while sleeping over at work premises.
“The money required to fix the problem is not a great amount compared to what the Government spend on all sorts of things,” says Ms Murray.
“It is time to stop being so mean spirited and to stop exploiting the good will of the workers. They could get much better wages and conditions in just about any other job but stay in the sector, for the most part, because they care about the people they are supporting.”
Support workers are some of the lowest paid workers in the country, says Ms Murray.
She says even with the extra funding, most support workers will only earn in a year about the same as what an MP receives for a housing allowance.
“Any increase in their wages will provide a significant boost to the local economy. Unlike MP’s housing allowances, nearly all of the extra money given to support workers will go back into their communities by way of spending on daily living costs.”
There has been far too much procrastination on this issue. The Employment Court has ruled. The Alliance says the government should ensure hard working support workers are paid what they deserve.