New pay scale for care & support workers

  • Jonathan Coleman

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a new pay scale for 55,000 care and support workers has been successfully implemented, with workers receiving their share of the $2 billion pay equity settlement.

“From 1 July a new pay scale was brought in for the 55,000 care and support workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services,” says Dr Coleman.

“The new pay scale more fairly reflects’ the workers skills and their experience – resulting in pay rises of between 15 and 50 per cent.

“For the 20,000 workers who were on the minimum wage of $15.75 per hour, their pay has increased to at least $19 per hour, a 21 per cent pay rise. For a full-time worker, this means they can be taking home an extra $100 a week, or more than $5,000 a year.

“The settlement also gives workers access to increased training which is expected to result in a more highly skilled workforce and lower staff turnover, helping improve the care of about 110,000 vulnerable New Zealanders.

“I am advised that the vast majority of this workforce is now confirmed at their new pay rate, with a small number of providers waiting on verification of workers’ overseas nursing qualifications. Where this is the case, eligible workers will receive back pay to 1 July 2017.

“This has been a significant undertaking, and I would like to thank the unions, funders, peak bodies, providers, the Ministry of Health, as well as the workers themselves, who have worked closely together to ensure the smooth implementation of the $2 billion settlement.”

To support the smooth implementation of this new pay scale, over the past three months the Ministry of Health has held nationwide information sessions, provided an implementation helpdesk and made advance payments to providers.

The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill, which passed unanimously in May, prescribes the new wage rates that will be phased in over the next five years.

The $2.048 billion settlement is primarily being funded through an increase of $1.856 billion to Vote Health and $192 million to ACC.

The settlement follows the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett.