Mental health and addiction workers' pay equity settlement

In February this year the Government announced it would negotiate an agreement to extend the Care and Support Workers Pay Equity Settlement to New Zealand’s 3,800 mental health and addiction care and support workers.

The Care and Support Workers Pay Equity Settlement came in to effect on 1 July 2017 giving 55,000 care and support workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services a pay rise of between 15 and 50 per cent. Mental health workers were not covered by the legislation.

The settlement originated from the pay equity claim brought by E tū 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 same skill set in a different occupation due to the fact caregivers are predominantly female.

The PSA and E tū lodged a claim with the Employment Relations Authority seeking that mental health and addiction care and support workers be paid the same increased wage rates as care and support workers covered by the settlement. The Ministry undertook a comparison exercise and determined the workforces were comparable.

Currently the Ministry of Health is negotiating with unions, employers and funders to extend the Care and Support Workers Pay Equity Settlement to mental health and addiction care and support workers.

While the negotiations continue, providers are supplying the workforce data needed to calculate the total cost of a pay equity settlement for mental health care and support workers. The cost calculation is needed for Government approval of a settlement and it will also give providers an indication of the funding they would receive to pay eligible workers the new wage rates.

For further information

If you are a provider:

If you have further questions please contact the Ministry's Mental Health & Addiction phone line on 0800 540 904 or email MHApayequity_implementation@moh.govt.nz.

If you are an employee:

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