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Aimee Shaw is a business reporter focusing on small business

Government funding for healthcare workers welcomed

Ryman Healthcare managing director Simon Challies. Photo / Michael Craig
Ryman Healthcare managing director Simon Challies. Photo / Michael Craig

Ryman Healthcare has welcomed the government's settlement to increase funding for wages of aged healthcare workers.

The wage increase will affect 45 per cent of Ryman's workforce, the equivalent of just more than 2000 staff members.

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"We applaud the government for prioritising aged care. They have recognised the importance of the work that our caregivers do by bringing their rates into line with the public sector," Ryman Healthcare managing director Simon Challies said.

"From a Ryman business perspective, the impact is neutral as the extra funding we receive will go into wages; we will pass it directly on to staff."

Challies said it was great to have clarity, at last.

"The issue has been unresolved for a long time. We look forward to seeing the detail," he said.

"We think the pay increase is great news for our caregivers, they do a fantastic job looking after our residents. They will be delighted, and rightly so."

Forsyth Barr analyst Jeremy Simpson said this morning's announcement was positive.

"Any increase in government funding has got to be good.

"The sector has had quite low levels of government increases in recent years; it hasn't kept that pace with cost inflation in the sector and also, it hasn't kept pace with the lift in minimum wage in recent years as well so there are a lot of cost pressures in the sector," Simpson said.

"We don't know all of the specifics yet but it sounds like quite a big increase in Government funding spread out over the five years."

Oceania Healthcare chief executive Earl Gasparich said the company was delighted that a settlement had been reached.

"This is an excellent outcome for the industry and will enable the retention and recruitment of skilled staff," Gasparich said.

"We are particularly pleased for staff. Our staff are the most passionate, caring people, they are hardworking and hugely dedicated to the care of the elderly and fully deserve to be recognised in this way."

Comment has been sought from Metlifecare.

- NZ Herald

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