Pay equity near for Oranga Tamariki social workers

Cabinet has agreed to fund a pay equity settlement for Oranga Tamariki social workers, Minister for Children Tracey Martin announced today.

The Minister said that an agreement in principle has been reached between Oranga Tamariki and the PSA on a settlement worth $114.6m over five years.

“I want to acknowledge the efforts of both the Oranga Tamariki and the PSA, who have worked together in good faith to examine the claim and reach agreement.

“This is another demonstration of this Government’s commitment to pay equity for all women in New Zealand. Just a week after we celebrated 125 years of women's suffrage, this decision recognises a historic gender-based undervaluation of Oranga Tamariki social workers, who perform vital work in keeping children and families safe.”

The pay equity settlement applies to more than 1300 Oranga Tamariki social workers and will see an average lift in their salaries of 30.6% over a two year period.

Oranga Tamariki and PSA will jointly present the settlement to those in scope of the claim, at a series of meetings around New Zealand over the two weeks from October 8.

Oranga Tamariki social workers, who are PSA members, will then vote on whether to accept it.

Ends

Media contact: Richard Ninness 021 892 536

Notes for editors:

The Oranga Tamariki and PSA Pay Equity Working Group has worked closely together since April 2017 to assess the Social Worker pay equity claim and apply the principles agreed by the Joint Working Group in 2015.

The Oranga Tamariki/PSA working group began assessing the claim by gathering information that captured the skills, responsibilities, working conditions and demands of social work carried out by Oranga Tamariki.

The working group process concluded that the role of a social worker in Oranga Tamariki has been subject to historical and ongoing gender-based undervaluation.

Social work began as unpaid volunteer work, most of which was done by women.

There was a historical practice to classify occupations dominated by women as semi-professional. These roles were seen to be less skilled and less complex.

Skills such as communication, building relationships, analysing and interpreting human behaviour, and dealing with emotionally complex situations were not fairly recognised. The unique responsibilities of statutory social workers are reflected in the outcome.