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Cautious optimism over changes to Family Funded Care

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Jul 2019, 9:27AM
The Government announced that would pay partners and spouses who look after ill family members up to $25.50 an hour. (Photo / Getty)

Cautious optimism over changes to Family Funded Care

Author
Newstalk ZB, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Jul 2019, 9:27AM

There's cautious optimism over an announcement that family members will be paid for caring for ill or disabled loved ones.

Yesterday, the Government announced that would pay partners and spouses who look after ill family members up to $25.50 an hour.

The Government will also extend Funded Family Care to those caring for children under 18 and will repeal part 4A of the Public Health and Disability Act, which bans families from challenging the policy on grounds of discrimination.

It will also change the employment relationship so the person being cared for is not the employer - though exactly how this will be managed is still to be worked out.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the changes after hosting disabled family members at Premier House today with Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter, who said the 4A clause was "incredibly offensive".

Diane Moody looks after her 52-year-old son Shane full time.

She told Jack Tame she can't get too excited, because there are no guarantees of being paid for a fulltime working week.

"You still got to go through that revolting, demeaning, depraving assessment, where Shane is assessed on how many times he's allowed to go to the toilet."

She thinks that a lot of people will think that they will get 40 hours a week pay, but does not believe it will work like that.

"Let's not get too excited. I think that, until all the I's are dotted and the T's are corrsed, I don't know whether a lot will change."

Under the new policy, family carers will be paid between $20.50 to $25.50 an hour, depending on their years of service.

The Government expects 640 people would be paid under the new scheme, which would cost $32 million over four years.

"People will be able to be paid for care they are already providing ... [and] not be struggling financially to provide care that the state would have paid if it had been someone other than a family member," Genter said.

The pay rates are the same that apply following the pay equity settlement for care and support workers in New Zealand's aged and disability residential care and home and community support services.

Asked why it had this long to announce since the previous September announcement, Ardern said Budget bids had to be approved.

She said the Government was not changing the assessment process, and other potential changes to the disability support system were being worked through.

 

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