30 Sep 2018

Human Rights Commission welcome changes to Funded Family Care

10:12 am on 30 September 2018

The Human Rights Commission describes a move to reconsider the employment conditions the government has imposed on family carers as 'long overdue'.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero. Photo: Supplied.

Landmark court judgements found the Health Ministry was discriminating against family caregivers of adults with disabilities by not paying them.

In 2013, the then National-led government responded by passing a law saying those caregivers could not challenge the pay rates set by the ministry.

The Labour-led government is now moving to scrap that.

The Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero said it was great news.

"It's discriminatory legislation that was passed in to law in 2013 and it's a real opportunity to look at doing things quite differently and to afford the dignity that disabled people and their families deserve."

She hopes the wider review of the Funded Family Care policy signals an end to people having to go to court to get a fair deal.

Meanwhile, the father of a severely disabled woman said the review into the Funded Family Care system announced this week must deal with the dire pay-rates for family carers.

The government has promised to consider changes to the policy, which limits payments to family caregivers to 40 hours a week, and bars spouses and parents of children under 18 from being paid carers.

Peter Humphreys and his wife work outside the home and receive funding to pay another family member to help care for their daughter, Sian, who is still in nappies at 30, cannot speak and has regular seizures.

But he said most family carers were single, older women and struggled to make ends meet.

"Just trying to plan for retirement and all that kind of stuff financially it's quite difficult because they're on the minimum wage if they are on this family funded care and they can't plan for anything and all it takes is a couple of issues and they get in to debt quite easily and all that kind of stuff."

Peter Humphreys said most carers of adult relatives were unable to work outside the home.

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