Parents and partners of disabled people with high or very high support needs will be paid for caring for their family members, as the New Zealand government acts to restore fairness and dignity.
Pay rates for family carers will also increase from the current minimum wage to a fairer pay equity rate of between 20.5 NZ dollars (13.6 U.S. dollars) and 25.5 NZ dollars, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday while announcing changes to the government’s Family Funded Care policy.
“We have heard loud and clear from families with disabled members about the need to change Funded Family Care,” Ardern said, adding the changes to the policy addresses the needs of stretched parents and partners.
While acknowledging families and whanau (communities) who provide this important and sometimes challenging care for their loved ones, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter said the issues have caused national and international concern since Funded Family Care was introduced in 2013.
“We also heard from families about the need to remove the requirement for an employment relationship between a disabled person and their family member,” Genter said, adding the government will consider alternative options which do not place unreasonable expectations on disabled people, their family or whanau.
The changes will come into effect in 2020 once legislation has gone through a Select Committee process which will include public consultation.