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 Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill passed its first reading in Parliament on 25 May 2017 and is before the Health Select Committee.
The bill implements the settlement, prescribes the new pay rates in law and ensures providers pass on $2 billion of wage increases over five years to the 55,000 workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services around the country.
The bill is due to be reported back to Parliament by 6 June 2017.
Learn more on the Parliament website.
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. The case successfully argued that a caregiver’s pay is less than would be paid to a male with the same skill set in a different occupation due to the fact caregivers are predominantly female.
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.