Parents and partners of disabled people with high or very high support needs will be paid for caring for their family members, as the 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 $20.50 and $25.50, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter said today 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. Today progresses a more compassionate government that addresses the needs of stretched parents and partners,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“I want to acknowledge families and whānau who provide this important and sometimes challenging care for their loved ones.
“Today we are addressing issues that have caused national and international concern since Funded Family Care was introduced in 2013,” Minister Julie Anne Genter said.
The Government has also decided to repeal Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000.
“This will restore people’s human rights to be involved in decision making, and have the right to complain about policies that affect them and their families,” Julie Anne Genter said.
“We also heard from families about the need to remove the requirement for an employment relationship between a disabled person and their family member. Health Ministers will consider alternative options which do not place unreasonable expectations on disabled people, their family or whānau.
The changes will come into effect in 2020 once legislation has gone through a Select Committee process which will include public consultation.
Budget 2019 allocated $32 million in contingency for these changes.
Family Funded Care will continue to be available to people assessed as having high or very high support needs. Eligibility is being extended to include payment of the partners and spouses of eligible disabled people and the resident family or parents of eligible children or young people under the age of 18.
Repeal of Part 4A of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 means Family Funded Care policies will need to comply with human rights law and not unjustly discriminate against disabled people on prohibited grounds including disability and family status. Disabled people and their families will no longer be prevented from challenging policies on the grounds of human rights discrimination.