Wellington Scoop

Pay rise for care workers this week

News from NZ Government
Care and support workers across Wellington will receive a pay rise from next week as a result of the $2 billion pay equity settlement.

“Workers at the 30 aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services in Wellington will receive their share of the $2 billion pay equity settlement,” says Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.

“The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill, passed unanimously this month, means that from 1 July 55,000 eligible workers across the country will see wages increase to between $19 to $27 per hour over five years.

“The pay increase will make a huge difference for around 1,200 workers in Wellington and the wider region. For those currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour, it means from July 1 they will move to at least $19 per hour, a 21 per cent pay rise. For a full-time worker, this means they will be taking home around $100 extra a week, or more than $5,000 a year.

“Existing workers will be transitioned to positions on the new pay scale which reflect their skills and experience. For new workers employed after July 1 wages will be based on an individual’s level of qualifications.”

The Ministry of Health is working closely with funders and providers on ensuring the first pay run after 1 July goes smoothly.

To support the implementation the Ministry has held nationwide information sessions, set up a helpdesk, arranged advance payments to providers, and released guidance to help provider’s transition workers to the new pay scale.

Support for providers and employees is also available through DHBs, unions, other government agencies like IRD and MBIE, and industry peak bodies.

This is supported by the record $16.77 billion invested in Vote Health in 2017/18. An extra $888 million will be invested for 2017/18 – the biggest increase in eleven years, an increase of around $5 billion across our nine Budgets.

News from E Tu
From midnight on 1 July, celebrations will begin in earnest as the reality of their big pay rise sinks in for 55,000 care and support workers in aged care, disability services and home support. These are workers included in the historic Equal Pay Settlement which has resulted in one of the biggest increases in pay for any group of workers in New Zealand history.

Kristine Bartlett, who took the Equal Pay case which resulted in this Settlement, says many of her co-workers are overjoyed while for others the reality has yet to sink in.

“There will be so many happy people. When they finally get the first two weeks of their new pay, they’ll see the difference it makes and can actually do a little bit of celebrating,” says Kristine.

“They’ll be looking at their pay slips and trying to believe that after all these years they’ve finally been rewarded for the hard work they do, and they deserve this so, so much. I’m so happy for them and I’m so happy the union stepped up and made this happen.

“For me, it really hasn’t sunk in and I’ll believe it when I see it in my bank account. Then I can say it has happened, because I’m still in a dream and I’ve been in a dream for quite some time,” she says.

“We’re very pleased that this fantastic deal worth $2.06 billion is going to deliver this pay increase for these 55,000 workers,” says E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall.

“We will be celebrating across the country.”

Meanwhile, John says work continues to win the same deal for community disability support workers, funded by the Ministry of Social Development, and “we are fast reaching a settlement on that”, says John.

Mental health support workers aren’t covered either with a pay equity claim lodged on their behalf with the Employment Relations Authority earlier this month.

“These were two groups which were left out initially but they need to be included,” says John.