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Landmark minimum wage case overturned

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/08/2016

Kapiti support carer Janet Lowe won't be paid the minimum wage after losing a test case in the Court of Appeal.

For five years Ms Lowe received a $3 an hour subsidy as a disability support worker, going into people's homes to relieve primary family care-givers who look after disabled relatives.

Last year Ms Lowe won a landmark Employment Court case that determined she was entitled to receive the minimum wage of $14.25 for her work.

But on Monday that decision was overturned.

The issues surrounded whether Ms Lowe was a "homeworker" employed by the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board.

Three justices agreed that she was not an employee, noting that neither appellant had any role in selecting the relief carer.

"The full time carer would be free, for example, to select an organisation such as a rest home provider rather than an individual like Ms Lowe," they said.

They also found Ms Lowe had a degree of autonomy in her role, inconsistent with that of an employee and to classify her as such would have broader ramifications.

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