News Update 25 March 2021

In this Update:

Vaccination Roll Out Information

  • A range of information is now available on the Ministry of Health’s website that outlines the next stages of the vaccine rollout and you can find an online tool that outlines when people in New Zealand can expect to get vaccinated on the Covid-19 website too
  • The disability workforce and disabled people who require daily support from multiple carers or who live in the community in a communal care environment, along with their immediate family carers, are included in ‘group 2’ of the vaccination roll out. Some of the people in group 2 will start to get their vaccinations before the end of this month.
  • More detailed information for disabled people who receive disability support services, and the workforce that provides those services, is currently being developed. This will include information about why, where and how vaccinations will be available and will include detailed Q&As about the vaccine and how you can access it.
  • We are working with the Ministry of Health to ensure people have all the information they need so they are well prepared before they are invited to get their vaccination  
  • A range of different options are being explored to ensure that vaccinations are offered in a way that includes a disabled person’s “bubble” (their support workers and immediate family), as well as options for delivering vaccines individually (for those in IF/Supported living situations) or collectively (for one or more group homes or individuals).
  • If people feel more comfortable being vaccinated by their regular GP or nurse this will also be an option.
  •  A range of community-based venues as potential vaccine sites are also being explored – which may include mobile clinics, community pop-ups, at marae and other community venues including day programme sites.
  • We expect that DHBs will soon begin to collect the contact details for many of those in group 2, and people will then start to make contact with you and/or your carers to discuss potential vaccination appointment times and locations. Providers should now begin to think about what the most appropriate options are for those people they support, and begin to discuss these with their workforce in advance of the DHB vaccinator teams starting to make contact.
  • For workers providing support services, it is expected that employers will receive general information about the numbers of staff vaccinated in their agency (as part of their Health and Safety requirements). However, employers will only receive specific information about individual staff who are vaccinated if a staff person explicitly authorises this. No personal information will be provided without your consent.
  • In the meantime more general information about vaccines and the roll out of the vaccination programme can be found here:

Vaccination and Employment Relations

Other Useful resources/links:

We urge you to distribute relevant information from these links so that your staff and people being supported have correct and factual information about the vaccine and the roll out programme along with answers to questions that people may have.

NZDSN/DSS Joint Work Programme Details

Here is a link to the joint memo to the DG of Health summarising progress on the joint work programme:

The DG has endorsed the work programme and NZDSN/DSS will continue reporting to the DG on progress at regular intervals. We have made it quite clear that addressing the “here and now” is a prerequisite for looking at new commissioning models that involve things like FDS. There is agreement that a pathway with specific steps needs to be developed over two or three budget cycles to create transparency and equity – along with a dedicated resource to map out the details of this pathway.

The resources necessary to undertake the workforce development suite of projects are being assembled from a number of sources and there will be a single governance/stewardship arrangement across all four projects.

This is an ambitious joint work programme. As we mentioned in our recent newsletter we will provide further details on project design and opportunities for participation and contribution at the April Leadership Forum. Click here To Register

Diploma Qualification in Employment Support: 2nd intake

A second intake of the NZ Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Applied Practice – Employment Support) will begin on the week of the 12th of April. There is still room for further enrolments

If there are people who are interested, they will need get in quick and contact Zara Fraser at Careerforce before Wednesday the 7th of April. Zara’s contact details are: Careerforce Business Development Consultant at Email:  or Phone: 0800 277 486.

Attached is a brochure about the NZ Diploma in Health and Wellbeing (Applied Practice – Employment Support):

 If you have any questions, please also feel free to contact:
Grant Cleland Gordon Boxall
Director, Creative Solutions Director, Weaving Threads Ltd
021 442 333                  021 587 772          

Ministry of Health Pay Equity process and timelines

The Support Worker (Pay Equity) Act 2017, indexes support worker wage rates with the Labour Cost Index (LCI) to ensure the relevancy of wages over time. A formula for this is spelt out in Clause 3 of the Act as an adjustment for the year ending 30 June 2022: “This clause applies if the compound annual growth rate for the Labour Cost Index for the period starting on 1 July 2017 and ending on 30 June 2021 is more than 1.7%.” 

The Statistics New Zealand June 2021 quarter Labour Cost Index (LCI) figures are expected to be released sometime in August/September 2021. The timing of the actual LCI figure means that calculations on the wage rate adjustments can only be undertaken after the actual LCI figures are known and applied retrospectively to 1 July 2021. The Ministry will be consulting over the next few months to discuss implementation options, for example providing an uplift from July 1st (on top of the 2021 rates) based on an estimate of the LCI figures and then a later wash up when the actual LCI data becomes available, or waiting for the data and paying the top up retrospectively to July 2021.

Note that the growth rate of the Labour cost slowed in the second half of 2020 due to COVID impacts. This means the re-balancing of the wage rates beyond those stated in the legislation will not be as great as some were expecting.

The Incorporated Societies Bill was introduced into Parliament last week

The Introduced Bill can be downloaded here

Some key points 

  • Once the bill is passed organisations will have 18 months to make any constitution changes. 
  • Contact person: This was going to be quite rigid: Now it is more general. Clauses 105 to 109 require a society to have at least 1 person whom the Registrar may contact about matters relating to the society.
  • Accounting standards: It was looking like it was going to align with the XRB reporting standards. But it is now aligned more with NZ’s standard accounting practices.
  • Grievances: member’s right to be heard & Conflict of Interests: Have now addressed how they should be managed.

COVID extra-ordinary costs reimbursement

Providers will have received communication from the Ministry about a one-off opportunity to resubmit invoices. We have not had a response about our request to have the basis upon which the reimbursements will be made in the future independently reviewed. If the policy going forward remains in place this will create ongoing financial risk for providers. We will continue to follow this up.

Kia tu tahi Tatou
From the NZDSN team