15 Sep 2014

Rural Women applaud travel time plan

7:10 am on 15 September 2014

A Government proposal to pay home support workers for time spent travelling between appointments is the result of 86 hard-fought years of campaigning, Rural Women NZ says.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced home support workers will be paid the minimum wage while they travel between clients, with mileage of at least 50 cents per kilometre.

At present, some workers receive no payment at all for their travelling time, which in some communities can be a significant proportion of their day.

Rural Women New Zealand owns Access Homehealth Limited, which evolved from its bush nurse and housekeeping scheme set up in 1926.

National president Wendy McGowan said it had been a long journey to get to this point.

"We've been fighting for reimbursement for travel costs for home care workers for nearly 86 years.

"I can remember 15 years ago, breaking my ankle and not being able to do much and having to actually ask a neighbour to come in and help because there was no one from the city willing to travel out.

"And you know sometimes it's not fair that you've always got to rely on your neighbours to help out. With our aging population there's an ever increasing number of people who need support to remain in their own homes."

If accepted, the new rules will kick in from July 2015.

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