On 18 April 2017, the Government announced a $2 billion pay equity settlement for 55,000 care and support workers in New Zealand’s aged and disability residential care and home and community support services.
The settlement originates from the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū (previously the Service and Food Workers Union) on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett. A unique feature of the case was that there was systemic undervaluation of care and support work because it was mainly performed by women. The case did not need to be decided by the court because of the Government's decision to seek to resolve the case out of the courts.
From July 1, workers will receive a pay rise between 15 and 50% depending on their qualifications and or experience. The settlement means over the next five years, the workforce will see their wages increase on a range between $19 to $27 per hour. On July 1, workers currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour will move to at least $19 per hour – a 21% pay rise. This will result in increases to their take home pay of at least $100 a week, or more than $5,000 a year.
This settlement addresses a historic undervaluing of this workforce and will help to support increased qualifications and reduced turnover in the sector, which will result in better care for New Zealanders.
A copy of the Regulatory Impact Statement, Negotiated Settlement for Care and Support Workers is available.