Pay for working at night

Listen to February 18th 2011 to hear the background to this.

In February this year, workers who care for intellectually disabled people, won their case for better night pay. The court said that they should be paid the minimum wage for sleeping at night in a home for disabled people. IHC said they did not have enough money to pay more. The government said there was not enough money to pay more. The union representing the workers planned to go to court to get this money. The union has been fighting this case for the last four years.

Today the government said there will be $90m available for these workers to receive the minimum wage for night work. This will be phased in during the next two years, from 50% now to 100% later. There will be another $27.5m for back pay from July 2005 at 50% of the minimum wage. Workers will also get 50% of the minimum wage from now until July next year. From July next year they will get 75% of the minimum wage and from July 2013, they will get 100% of the minimum wage.

It is possible IHC and other employers can find more money to reach that 100% sooner.

If the government agrees these workers should receive the minimum wage, why will it only pay 50% at this stage?

What about pay for babysitters? Is this a similar situation – a responsible job, maybe have to give up going out with friends? What are the differences between babysitting and caring for a number of intellectually disabled people?

The Labour Party said that intellectually disabled people do not have a voice because they don’t vote. Do you think this is the reason that we don’t know much about their care?