Pay equity settlement - Information for employees

The settlement covers 55,000 workers in aged and disability residential care and home and community support services around New Zealand.

Are you eligible?

Work out if you are eligible by reviewing this guidance: Are you eligible? (PDF, 132 KB).


If you have questions about whether you are eligible under the Settlement, please contact:

If you work in Aged Residential Care:
NZNO: 0800 283848
E tū: 0800 186 466
If you work in Home and Community Support Services:
PSA: 0508 367 722
E tū: 0800 186 466
If you work in Disability Support:
PSA: 0508 367 722
E tū: 0800 186 466

New wage structure

Employees can expect to begin receiving their extra pay in their first pay day after 1 July 2017. Generally, all other conditions of employment remain the same. However, service and qualification allowances will be extinguished because they have been replaced by the new qualifications-based pay structure. Weekend and penal rates will remain but those that are calculated as a percentage of base pay will be converted to allowances.

All employees covered by the settlement in the aged and disability residential care and home and community support sectors will receive the new wage rates regardless of whether or not they belong to a union.

New wage rates for existing workers

All existing care and support workers on 1 July 2017 will move on to the following scale either at the step that recognises their current qualifications or their service with their current employer, whichever is the most advantageous to the employee.

  1 July 2017
Year 1
1 July 2018
Year 2
1 July 2019
Year 3/4
1 July 2021
Year 5
L0 or <3 years service $19.00 $19.80 $20.50 $21.50
L2* or 3+ years service $20.00 $21.00 $21.50 $23.00
L3*or 8+ years service $21.00 $22.50 $23.00 $25.00
L4* or 12+ years service $23.50 $24.50 $25.50 $27.00

* ‘Qualifications’ are those recognised by NZQA.

The qualification must be a Level, 2, 3 or 4 New Zealand certificate in Health and Wellbeing from an NZQA accredited provider. Employees should provide their employers with a copy of their qualifications so they can be transitioned through the pay scale. Please download the employee qualifications fact sheet on this webpage for more information about qualifications that are equivalent to the Level 2, 3 or 4 New Zealand certificate in Health and Wellbeing.

All existing care and support workers on 1 July 2017 will increase their pay rates under this scale on the basis of either service or qualifications, whichever is the most advantageous to them as set out below.

  • Progression to Level 2 will be on attainment of the Level 2 qualification or after the completion of 3 years current continuous service with their employer as of 1 July 2017
  • Progression to Level 3 will be on the attainment of the Level 3 qualification, or after 8 years current continuous service with their employer as of 1 July 2017.
  • Progression to Level 4 will be on the attainment of the Level 4 qualification.

All existing care and support workers who reach 12 years current continuous service with their employer after 1 July 2017 and who have not achieved a Level 4 Certificate will move on to the following rates unless there are genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds that the employee’s employer did not provide the support necessary for the employee to achieve the Level 4 qualification, in which case the employee will be entitled to move to the Level 4 step above. Any dispute about the provision of the necessary support will be dealt with through the normal dispute resolution processes.

After 1 July 2017 On or after 1 July 2018 On or after 1 July 2019 On or after 1 July 2021
$22.50 $23.50 $24.50 $26.00

New wage rates for new workers

The minimum rates and progression for care and support workers employed after 1 July 2017 will be the following:

  1 July 2017
Year 1
 1 July 2018
Year 2
1 July 2019
Years 3/4
1 July 2021
Year 5
L0 $19.00 $19.80 $20.50 $21.50
L2* $20.00 $21.00 $21.50 $23.00
L3* $21.00 $22.50 $23.00 $25.00
L4* $23.50 $24.50 $25.50 $27.00

* ‘Qualifications’ are those recognised by NZQA

Current continuous service is considered to be service with the current employer, not the total length of time you have been a care and support worker with all previous employers.

Continuous service with the current employer includes any service transferred under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act). In summary, the Act sets out the process for an employer to use where a business is sold, transferred or contracted out and requires employment agreements to contain ‘employee protection provisions’. Specific groups of employees, in certain situations, may transfer to the new employer on their existing terms and conditions, including having any transferred service recognised as continuous service.

Workers eligible for the new pay rates

There are several factors that determine whether you are eligible for increased wages under the pay equity settlement. We suggest you talk to your employer for their advice, or your local union representative if you are a member of a union.

As part of their negotiations over 20 months, settlement parties agreed that the new pay rates are for care and support workers employed by providers funded by the Ministry of Health, district health boards (DHBs), or the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) who work in the areas of:

  • aged residential care (includes some ACC and Ministry of Health clients under 65 who require rest-home level care or high and complex needs for up to 24 hours a day)
  • community residential living (these services are generally known in the disability and support sector as day programmes, day services, residential services for disability support, facility-based respite, supported living and choices in community living)
  •  home and community support services following a needs based assessment including residents who are in independent living setting, in a retirement village.

For the avoidance of doubt, the following are covered by the settlement:

  • home support workers employed by the following District Health Boards, who are not paid as healthcare assistants, are covered by this settlement: Waikato DHB, Wairarapa DHB, Hutt Valley DHB, Canterbury DHB and West Coast DHB
  • disability support workers employed by Nelson Marlborough DHB, who are not paid as healthcare assistants
  • care and support workers providing the Services (defined in the Settlement Agreement) known as Individualised Funding or Enhanced Individualised Funding as employees are eligible.

Workers not eligible for the new pay rates

The Settlement Agreement does not include the following workers or services:

  • any health practitioner who is registered under and in accordance with the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, and is working in a role that required the employee to be a health practitioner
  • any employee whose primary work purpose is not care and support even if care and support is incidental to their primary work
  • behavioural support services
  • caregiver support
  • child development services
  • environmental support
  • funded family care
  • mental health services
  • those provided directly by employees of DHBs, except as noted above
  • vocational and disability services funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki
  • private services to a client, by a person whether or not they are performing those services as an Employee.

The Government recognises that there are other female-dominated occupational groups that will have a pay equity claim that needs to be addressed. For this reason, the Government is also progressing with legislation to implement pay equity principles which will establish a process for other groups of workers to follow.


Settlement parties have agreed to create incentives to help care and support workers gain formal qualifications. Therefore the contracts between funders and providers will require employers to provide the necessary systems and support to enable workers covered by the settlement to reach the following NZ Qualifications Authority Health and Wellbeing Certificate (or their relevant equivalent) qualifications within the following time periods:

  • Level 2 NZ Certificate – within 12 months of employment
  • Level 3 NZ Certificate – within 3 years of employment
  • Level 4 NZ Certificate – within 6 years of employment

The Government will fund employers for two days per employee per year as its contribution to education and training.

Working for Families and tax guidance

Working for Families Tax Credits

Your pay increase from 1 July may affect your payments for Working for Families Tax Credits. Make sure you check your family income estimate and let Inland Revenue know if it needs to be changed. This will help make sure you get paid the right Working for Families Tax Credits and avoid an overpayment.

Changes that you need to let Inland Revenue know about include:

  • an increase or decrease in your family income
  • the number of hours you and/or your partner work
  • children coming into, or leaving, your care
  • a partner change.

You can make changes online anytime through myIR Secure Online Services

Or, you can call Inland Revenue on 0800 227 773 , Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm. You can now call us from your mobile phone.

 Student loans and KiwiSaver

If your pay increases you may notice your Student loan repayments and KiwiSaver contributions changing too. An increase in wages is likely to see the amount deducted increase.
If you now go over the weekly repayment threshold of $368 for student loans you may see deductions start happening. Please ensure you are using the correct tax code.

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