Eight workers at Hato Paora boarding school near Feilding have won a case involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay for unpaid sleepover duties.

The members of E Tu union worked as hostel parents at the college to look after the students boarding at the school.

Hato Paora told the Authority that workers only carried out minimal help with the students and they had plenty of time to sleep. The Authority did not accept this and found in favour of the workers.

The decision, made public this week, said: "...the applicants were engaged in work when rostered as House parents at Hato Paora and the Board is liable to pay them accordingly."

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A settlement was not determined and will be negotiated between the school and the union.

E Tu organiser Lyn Williams said: "The school board knew that there would be a sleepover claim, ever since the 2009 court decision and could have made provision for these workers but didn't."

Williams said the college introduced volunteers to do the sleepovers in July last year, but has since reinstated paid workers.