Mental health and addiction workers were not included in the Care and Support settlement.
Unions have made a claim in the Employment Relations Authority to extend the settlement to the mental health sector.
The sector is currently engaged in assessing this claim with a view to resolving it as quickly as possible, outside of the court system if possible.
The Ministry is not a party to the claim but has agreed to undertake an information-gathering exercise in conjunction with unions and providers in order to gain a preliminary view of the work undertaken by mental health and addiction support workers.
There have already been four meetings and further meetings are scheduled on a fortnightly basis.
The information-gathering exercise will be completed as quickly as possible and the Ministry will provide advice to the Government based on the information gathered.
The ERA process and this alternative process are happening concurrently.
The recent letter sent to Chief Executives of DHBs related to the funds that had been specifically appropriated by the Ministry to pay for the wage increases for workers covered by the Care and Support Pay Equity Settlement.
It was important to clarify that these funds should not be diverted to any other purpose.