The Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017 increased the wage rates of care and support workers in New Zealand’s aged and disability residential care and home and community support services. Wages are now based on a worker’s level of qualification or length of service, whichever is the most advantageous to the worker. The Act redresses the past undervaluation of care and support work, which is carried out by a predominantly female workforce.
The original Act excluded mental health and addiction support workers. However, a separate agreement covering these workers (the Mental Health and Addiction Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement 2018) was reached in 2018; it closely follows the original Act.
Provision for training is an important part of this agreement; it should, over time, result in a more consistent workforce with higher qualifications. This report uses care and support worker data from 2017/18 and 2019 to identify trends in qualification attainment among care and support workers. The purpose of this report is to provide information on care and support worker qualification attainment to employers, unions, funders, and researchers.
Analysis of data collected in 2017/18 and 2019 on care and support workers shows that:
- there has been a significant increase in support workers with qualifications in the home and community support, disability, and mental health and addiction sectors
- support workers with higher qualifications deliver relatively more hours of care than unqualified workers
- there are a number of workers with no qualifications who are paid based on their length of service, and are therefore unlikely to take up training opportunities.