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Published 23 April 2024

Whaikaha are working through the impacts of a recent Court of Appeal decision on the employment status of family carers for disabled people.

Equipping family carers to support our disability community can be complex, with plenty of considerations around rights and responsibilities. Two family carers took the Government to Employment Court as they disagreed with the Government over who their employer was.

There are a number of responsibilities an employer has to an employee, meaning an employer needs to ensure it's well set up to support those obligations. 

The Ministry of Health (in charge before Whaikaha Ministry of Disabled People was formed) said that the disabled person the carers were supporting were their employers. The two carers said that the Ministry was their employer. In 2021 after working through the case, the Employment Court agreed with the conclusion of the carers. 

The Government disagreed with this finding and took the case to the Court of Appeal. They appealed because they believed the Government should not have a say in who is hired as a carer or be part of instructing their daily work. 

The Court of Appeal agreed with the Government and found that Whaikaha is not the employer of family carers.

Due to the complexities of the case itself and what it could mean for our disabled whanāu around responsibilities, Whaikaha have promised to consider all these impacts and come back to our community with guidance. 

If you would like to read, watch or listen to more about this decision, you can find it in alternate formats on the Whaikaha website. 

Court of Appeal decision on employment of family carers | Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People (external link)