Government takes pay equity action for Social Workers


The Government has agreed to address a long-standing pay gap for community social workers, boosting the wages of almost 500 employees.

The pay equity claim means people working for organisation such as iwi social services, kaupapa Māori services and NGOs who perform social work tasks out in the community will receive a pay rise.

“This social work pay equity claim is an important first step towards addressing the significant gender pay gap for social workers and others who carry out substantially similar work,” Minister for Children Kelvin Davis said.

“These people do hard mahi everyday out in the community and I am pleased to be able to help boost wages to a more appropriate level.”

The agreement will include $80.56 million over five years for remuneration and indirect costs of settling the claim, with the average full-time worker to receive an increase between $20,000-30,000 on top of their annual salary.

Careful management of the economy throughout Covid has left New Zealand in a comparatively strong position despite economic headwinds and able to invest in important matters such as this that directly benefit workers.

By addressing pay inequity, there is flexibility for people in social work type roles to be able to easily move between the statutory sector and the NGO social services sector without having to take a salary cut.

This flexibility will further support the sector as decision making will increasingly be made in communities by iwi social services, kaupapa Māori services and NGOs.

The settlement reflects Labour’s 2020 election commitment to make it easier for women to gain pay equity in their organisation or across their industry. The claim is enabled by the Government’s amendments to the Equal Pay Act 1972 (the Act) made through the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020.