It’s never easy to start the conversation around pay rates. Mycare wants the best for both the workers and those requiring support. Here is a guide to what is a fair amount to offer someone you are hiring as a support person through Mycare.
Negotiating pay rates can often be one of those conversations that feel awkward and at times is something we want to avoid. However, the way to overcome some of these issues is by informing yourself before entering the conversation.
It’s important to remember that we all struggle with discussions about pay. How much should people offer? How much should support workers ask for? And when it comes to this type of work, the answers are not straightforward. When you are in the interview situation the question of remuneration can often feel like the elephant in the room.
Mycare enables you to engage in a two-way relationship, and it is important to keep this in mind. You are engaging with professionals who have developed and refined their skills in supporting others. They’re hard-working people who have chosen this career path to make a difference to other’s lives. However, you will also be offering a work-life balance. Many people enjoy the flexibility of the work hours.
Mycare is unique in that we leave the negotiating up to you. However, we do suggest that you offer to pay that reflects the considerable value good support workers add to your life. One of the considerations is whether you offer them the top rate or whether you have a scale that enables you to show gratitude for a job well done.
Here are some important points to consider when you are deciding how much you will pay your support worker:
Consider what you are really asking of them. There is the job description but many who have support workers will know that the good ones go beyond the job description. How do you reward initiative? Often, they will walk past a pile of dishes and just clear them away. Or, they will take you to a doctor’s appointment, and shuffle their day around to ensure that they can give you the time you need. Many support workers also come with years of experience, and their pay rate needs to take this into account.
How much do you appreciate loyalty and commitment? The pay rate often communicates to a worker the level of appreciation and recognition that you give them. Many workers will stay longer if they feel they are paid fairly. Over time this saves you both time and money because you don’t have to go through interviewing and training people as often. Paying more also provides job satisfaction for the worker.
When contracting, what deductions need to be made from a worker’s pay? Mycare makes it easy for both the individual doing the hiring and for the support workers by deducting the required tax automatically. However, it’s important for you to bear in mind that workers are required to pay a 5% service fee to Mycare, as well as an annual ACC Levy. As independent contractors, Mycare workers are also not entitled to paid annual, sick or bereavement leave, and don’t receive employer contributions to their Kiwisaver fund. These are major omissions that should be reflected in a fair hourly rate, so workers are not disadvantaged by contracting.
What is a fair rate to offer? The final decision comes down to you and what you are comfortable to pay. However, there are some important changes you need to keep in mind. As you may be aware, last year the pay equity settlement came into effect. This requires employers to pay a minimum wage for support workers which is set at $21.50 per hour for unqualified workers, and $27.00 per hour depending on qualifications and years of experience. For those, who pay sleepover rates, these can remain at the minimum wage, which is currently $21.20 per hour. It is important to note that these rates are for employees, not independent contractors like Mycare workers. We advise you to use these figures as a baseline and add 15% to accommodate the other expenses mentioned above (Kiwisaver, holiday leave etc).
New Zealand’s living wage rate is voluntary and has been calculated to be $22.75 per hour, but we recommend $25 per hour – the Mycare living wage. We acknowledge that many Mycare users are limited in what they can pay workers due to the low value provided by government funding such as the Carer Support subsidy. If this is the case for you, would you consider using Mycare to find a volunteer in your community - someone who could lend a hand without payment? Or, be upfront about hiring someone who’s willing and able to work for less.
We want to ensure everyone finds the support they need and that the workers are also well looked after. A fair hourly rate benefits everyone. Together we can all create a community in which working in a home-support profession doesn’t mean becoming financially disadvantaged. Let’s care for those who care for our families.
We welcome your thoughts about home help and what is fair pay. If you’d like to provide feedback, contact the Customer Engagement Team on 09 887 9777, or email email@example.com.