It is great news that the
Government has agreed to enter into negotiations
with disability support workers and their unions, the
Service and Food Workers Union
(SFWU) and the
Public Service Association
(PSA), about sleepover payments, but any settlement must recognise the workers right to be paid at least the minimum wage for each hour worked.
The government should stop dragging this case out and pay the workers what three courts have now said they are entitled to – the minimum wage for each hour of their sleepover shifts. The law is clear and
leading constitutional academic Andrew Geddis
said the government would be wasting their time appealing the case to the Supreme Court. Despite having no legal leg to stand on the IHC has lodged an appeal in the Supreme Court, but it is unclear if that court will even bother to hear the case.
And all the while disability support workers wait for what is legally theirs – minimum wage payments. Phil Dickson, whose name the case is in, gets paid $3.77 an hour for the 9 sleep over shifts he does a fortnight. The current minimum wage is $12.75. So Phil is missing out on around $650 a fortnight in wages. That is a huge amount for someone on a low income and would make a real difference in his life.
There is no good reason to make him and other support workers wait any longer. We call on the government and their negotiators to reach a speedy settlement that delivers long overdue justice to these workers.