Family Funded Care Update

Family Funded Care

A recent report surveying over 900 affected families and care organisations about the carer laws has been released with an overwhelming agreement for better pay, removal of the paid 40-hour- a-week cap and better rights for carers.

The unpaid work of carers has an annual economic value of more than $7 billion NZD, making the Care Act review and amendment essential for carers to be recognised, paid and protected by law.

Background
The Funded Family Care policy was introduced in 2013 after successful court cases taken by some families who were not paid adequately for the care of their disabled family members.
This case highlighted the inequality of carers’ pay, recognition for the value of their work and the ability to complain if they were not satisfied – and families demanded change.

In 2013, the then National-led government passed a law saying caregivers could not challenge the pay rates set by the Ministry, nor make complaints to the Human Rights Commission.

The Labour-led government has committed to review and amend the Act.
Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tersoriero said it was great news. “It’s discriminatory legislation that was passed into 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.”

Survey Results
In summary, there was strong support to:

  • Repeal Part 4A to allow paid carers to be family members, spouse and/or adult children. It also will repeal the clause preventing complaints from carers going to the Human Rights Commission and other language in the clause.
  • Enable payment of spouses and partners of people eligible for Funded
    Family Care – a move towards a more inclusive payment scheme.
  • Receive equivalent pay to other care and support workers – fair pay for their work. It was agreed no one
    wanted to be paid 24/7, as the carers expressed they needed a break as well.
  • Support for a simple process, with more choice and flexibility – there needs to be a more organised and clear way people can apply to care for their loved one, not a one size fits all model.
  • Change the terms of engagement employer status. There was consensus from those surveyed that most
    thought the disabled person with complex and high needs should not be expected to be the employer.
  • Lower age restriction on payment for carer which is currently 18-years old. The survey shows an agreement with age 16 and over.

It is promising to see the current government willing to make the necessary changes to the Family Funded Care Act.

The Ministry of Health will take some time to review the results and make proposed amendments to the Act to incorporate what people have said in the survey and look at sustainable solutions.
Ministry and parliamentary members urge people to continue to engage with the process.

By Sophie Parish

For more information on Funded Family Care please contact your MND Support Team Member.

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