Campaigning for Equal Pay

The PSA Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi has a proud history of advocating for equal pay, striving for pay and employment equality for women since 1913.

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Our Equal Pay campaign page is here to help you follow the PSA's efforts to achieve Equal Pay for all. Keep an eye out for information, resources and more, such as:

  • A background to Equal Pay at PSA
  • Progress updates for our various Equal Pay claims 
  • Equal Pay facts and figures
  • Additional resources and documents 

It's 2021, and it's time for women to be paid 100%.

Our Work

Our work towards Equal Pay is currently focused on two core areas of work: Pay Equity Claims, and the Gender Pay Principles.

Pay Equity Claims: 
The PSA pay equity claims are each at various stages in the process, these phases include Raising the claim, Accessing the Claim and Settling the claim.

Gender Pay Principles: 
Co-developed by the PSA with guidance from Te Kawa Mataaho, the Gender Pay Principles chief aim is elimination of gender pay gaps. They are a framework for creating work environments fee of gender-based inequalities.



Claim Phase Progress
Care and Support Workers Settled 2017  
Mental Health and Addiction Support Workers Settled 2018  
Oranga Tamariki Social Workers  Settled 2018  
DHB Admin Clerical Settling the Claim Mapping of admin clerical roles across all the DHBs to the equal pay job profiles is now underway, the intention is to reach final settlement by mid 2021.
DHB Nurses Assessment Phase Further assessment work is underway to ensure there is sufficient evidence to negotiate a settlement.
DHB Allied Health Assessment Phase The unions continue to work toward consolidation, interviews expected to start in March/April.
Local Government Library Assistants Assessment Phase Bargaining Process agreed, the parties are currently developing the detail of the interview and assessment plan.
Public Service Admin Clerical Assessment Phase Bargaining process agreed, the project team has met to begin shared training and is currently working toward agreement around the interviewing of claimant roles.
Probation Officers Assessment Phase The claim has been raised and the employer has agreed arguability, the parties will now work together to develop a bargaining process agreement.
Social Services Social Workers Settling Phase The parties are meeting with the Key Funding Agency to discuss sector flow on and funding options. The report regarding undervaluation has been drafted and the pre negotiation report re remuneration comparisons is in the early draft stage
Social Services Workers Assessment Phase Currently under discussion to clarify any cross over with the social work claim.



Equal Pay Terminology 

The terms “Pay Equity and “Equal Pay” are often confused. Equal pay means two people who are doing the same job should be paid the same regardless of their gender. Pay Equity means that women and men should be paid equal pay for work of equal value.

Gender pay gap: Gap between women’s average pay and men’s average pay.

Equal pay: Same job, same pay. (Sometimes, Equal Pay includes Pay Equity.)

Pay equity:  Different job but of equal value, same pay.

Job evaluation: Tool to measure job size.

For more information, check out the Global Women Fact sheet: What is the Gender Pay Gap? 

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average hourly rate for women and for men. It’s closing at a snail’s pace, and we’ve still got a long way to go.

Women graduates are paid, on average, 6 per cent less than their male counterparts at the very start of their careers. Within four years, they are earning nearly $5,000 a year less and the gap continues to widen.

In the public sector, women are paid 14 per cent less than men but it’s an average that conceals massive pay gaps, up to a staggering 42 per cent at the Ministry of Defence. In the community public services sector, support work is paid around one-third less than work with similar levels of skills and qualifications but largely done by men.

The gender pay gap represents a huge loss of earnings over a working life that can severely limit a woman’s choices and those of her children. It can mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and scrimping on food and heating costs.

The Pay Equity Process Overview

The arrow diagram below was developed to demonstrate the steps involved when working through the pay equity process. The pay equity arrow diagram does not describe a linear process where one step must be completed before another is started. (From the Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission's Pay Equity Work Assessment Process Guide)

For more information about the process, check out Te Kawa Mataaho's Gender Pay Gap and Pay Equity

Pay Equity Bargaining Process

Pay equity bargaining is different from the processes we normally use for MECA bargaining. This bargaining will be led by a Crown Negotiator who has been appointed by the Government for this purpose, assisted by DHB representatives. The Oversight Group comprising representatives from SCC Treasury, Prime Ministers Office and Ministry of Health will also oversee this process.

The other feature that is different from the normal MECA bargaining process is that that we have jointly, with the DHBs, worked through a very long process to complete the assessment of 13 roles that are representative of the work our clerical admin members do in the DHBs. We have also completed the assessment of the comparator roles and have determined that there is comparability between the work of our clerical admin members and the comparator roles.

We have also collected remuneration data for both the claimant and the comparators and by analysing this data it has been established that, on average, the claimant roles are undervalued. We will be negotiating to remediate the undervaluation.

Pay Equity Bargaining Objectives

We have identified the following broad issues that we will want dealt with through this bargaining process:

  • Establish equal pay rates based on finding through the Assessment Phase of the pay equity process.
  • An agreed date from which the pay increases will be effective from to correct the undervaluation
  • Development of a national pay scale and progression mechanism that caters for the positions covered by our current MECAs
  • Establishment of a pay classification system and its link to the pay scale that caters for the positions covered by our current MECAs
  • Develop a process for implementing the agreed outcomes on a joint basis that includes dispute resolution and review mechanisms
  • Develop a mechanism and timeframe for resolving the detail of a national, or at least RONZ and Auckland MECA
  • Develop a process and mechanism to maintain and monitor the pay classification and salary structure for DHB clerical admin

Download the form below and invite your peers to become Equal Pay Advocates. 

Equal Pay Advocates are PSA members, male and female, who are the champions of pay equity in big and little ways in their individual workplaces and homes. Several of our sister unions have similar groups of members championing equal pay in their workplaces and our combined efforts can get the whole country behind us and achieve 100% equal pay in the next few years.

Download the Equal Pay Advocate Sign-Up Form (PDF)

Download the Equal Pay Advocate Sign-Up Form (Word Doc)

Become an Equal Pay Advocate 4

Our pay equity claim covering work done by all members who are in predominantly female occupations and under the coverage of the Auckland and RONZ Allied, Public Health and Technical (APHT) MECAs. 

Click on the corresponding item or scroll down to view:

About the APHT Claim

Our claim covers work done by all members who are in predominantly female occupations and under the coverage of the Auckland and RONZ Allied, Public Health and Technical MECAs.

The claim makes the case that employees in female dominated occupations have had their work undervalued because that work has traditionally been ‘women’s work’.

The DHBs have accepted our claim and agree that this work in DHBs is predominantly done by women and it is arguable that the work is currently and/or historically been undervalued, while noting that agreeing to proceed with a pay equity claim does not in itself predetermine a pay equity outcome.

In the few instances where the occupations under our coverage are not female dominated, we have advised the DHBs that if under valuation is identified (as we expect) in the female dominated occupational groups then in the settlement phase we will seek to ensure male dominated occupations maintain pay parity with the groups they currently have a relativity with. 

APHT Claim Documents

APHT Claim Updates

Update 24 June, 2020:

Allied, Public Health and Technical is the most complex of all the pay equity claims that have been raised so far. During lockdown we asked to DHBs for information relating to the claimants and this week we start meetings with some key professional reference groups. We will be forming an oversight group of delegates and organisers to support the work going forwards.

The initial phase of the claim is interviewing claimant (allied, public health and technical) roles. Initially we will decide which roles to interview, how many, and in which DHBs. We need to ensure we have interviewed a range of roles, in different sized DHBs to ensure we have enough evidence to assess if there is undervaluation based on gender.

Despite the delay in starting we will be able to utilise information from the previous claims to truncate the process. Interviewing potential comparators (male dominated roles) and creating their summary profiles (comprehensive descriptions of the work they do) is the most time-consuming piece of work but this work will have already been completed in our previous claims.


What has happened so far?

PSA lodged a claim for all occupational groups covered by the APHT MECAs in our last bargaining.  Even though the claim is complex - covering about 60 professions and 11,000 FTE - we are stronger together.  If we had put in separate claims for each occupation, it could take years to do each one in turn.

In December 2019 PSA and the DHBs agreed a Terms of Reference for the APHT pay equity process.

We have now set up occupational reference groups made up of active PSA members, who will be the brains trust and experts for each occupation as we go through the pay equity assessment process.

We have also established a PSA Oversight Group made up of PSA representatives whose job it is to be directly involved at a national level, representing all members and keeping in touch with the reference groups.  That group has begun meeting with DHB reps in this process.

What are the key stages of the pay equity claim process?

In broad terms, the key stages of the pay equity claim process are:

(1)     Investigating the work being done by APHT occupations (claimants) and comparators (male-dominated occupations) using a gender-neutral tool.   

(2)     Assessing remuneration for the claimant and comparator roles,

(3)     If undervaluation of the claimant roles is established, negotiating an outcome for the pay equity claim.

What roles will be assessed in the Allied, Public Health, Scientific and Technical claim?

We will be interviewing PSA members in a sample of roles at a number of locations and different sized DHBs.

We cannot interview every PSA member nor can we review every position.  This would take a very long time, since we are looking at historical and current undervaluation due to gender, we don’t need to do this in order to get the information we need. 

Interviewing this sample will establish the value of the roles and then consider the degree of undervaluation that is present (i.e. what the equal pay rate should be).  

What can you do?

Spread the word, talk about it with your colleagues, come to pay equity meetings, keep up to date with progress, be active in your workplace to help keep momentum in this historical process.


In 2018, we raised a Pay Equity claim on behalf of all our members covered by the Mental and Public Health Nursing MECA. The claim covers work done by senior nurses, registered nurses, public health nurses, nurse practitioners, enrolled nurses, health care assistants and mental health assistants, including psychiatrist assistants.

Click on the corresponding item or scroll down to view:

DHB Nurses Claim - Updates

16 July, 2020: The Nursing claim is progressing well. The claim is being jointly undertaken between PSA and NZNO. PSA represents the vast majority of Mental Health and Public Health Nurses and NZNO represents the general nurses. Interviews to establish profiles of work undertaken by nurses has been concluded.  

20 December, 2019: Claimant interviews are now completed, and the comparator phase is set to start in January 2020

We have made significant progress in our claim in the last three months. All job holder interviews relating to roles covered by the PSA Nursing MECAs have been completed.

The interviews involved nursing members in a number of different roles such as public health nurses, mental health nurses (inpatient, community, forensic) and enrolled nurses and mental health assistants. The interviews involved both the PSA and NZNO members. Other roles ranging from nurse practitioners, charge nurses to specialist nurses were also interviewed. In all 137 members in 20 different roles were interviewed. 

DHB Nurses Claim - Role Profiles and Comparator Roles

Role Profiles

The interview notes were collated, and summary profiles have been developed for the 20 roles. Masters students from Victoria University were trained to create the role profiles. The DHB and Union Bipartite Oversight Group have briefly reviewed the profiles and have concluded they have captured a very good descriptions of the roles.

The role profiles will be formally verified by nursing staff from the DHB who understand the roles, but are not in them or reporting to someone in the role. Both the union and DHB representatives are in the process of identifying staff who can undertake the validation process. Once the roles have been validated, they will be assessed using the agreed assessment tools and processes.

Comparator Roles

We have identified potential male comparators for a range of roles using the following criteria:

  • is male dominated, or has been historically male dominated
  • has a sufficient sample size (eg over 50 in one organisation)
  • may be covered by a collective agreement
  • work and remuneration information is readily accessible
  • has a similar qualification or skill level grouping
  • has similar entry criteria for the role

A process to identify a range of employers where such roles may exist is underway. Once identified we will be approaching the comparator employers. Getting comparators is perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming part of this process as we do not have total control over it and are dependent on the good will of the comparator organisations. We will be undertaking a similar interview and profile establishment process for comparators as we have done for the nursing roles. 

In April 2018 PSA lodged a pay equity claim on behalf of over 6700 clerical/administration members who work in our DHBs.

Click on the corresponding item or scroll down to view:

About our claim

Representing over 7000 members, the PSA raised the claim on Administrators Appreciation Day, which marks the massive contribution admin staff around New Zealand make to their workplaces.

"DHB clerical and administration staff are among the poorest-paid workers in the health system, and around 90 per cent of them are women," PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

"They keep the system running, but most are paid little more than the minimum wage because their jobs have been considered ‘women’s work’.

"This claim, raised under the process recommended by the Joint Working Group on Equal Pay Principles, will set about ending this once and for all."

The claim has been endorsed by nearly 5000 PSA members working in DHBs. Here you can keep up today with how the Campaign is progressing, and ways to be involved.

Read the claim here, or the appendix to the claim here.

Admin & Clerical Claim Documents

Standing with DHB Admin & Clerical members

After making good progress and receiving feedback that DHBs would like to make us a formal offer, we were then advised that the DHBs were unable to do so under their current mandate. This prompted strong calls for support for DHB Admin & Clerical members. You can see messages of support for our members on the DHB Admin & Clerical Message Board.

On 6th August 2020, a letter was addressed to MPs across the country inviting them to confirm their public support for our equal pay claim. The following MPs pledged their support for pay equity for DHB Admin and Clerical workers:

  • Poto Williams, Labour
  • Marja Lubeck, Labour
  • Megan Woods, Labour
  • Ruth Dyson, Labour
  • The Green Party
  • Chris Hipkins, Labour (click here to read the 13 August letter from Chris Hipkins, Minister of Health, in support of resolution for our pay claim) 

I Support DHB Admin Clerical Copy2

Signature DHB Admin Heart of the Hospital 6At the Heart of the Hospital

DHB Administration and Clerical workers are at the Heart of the Hospital, keeping hospitals running with their vital roles behind the scenes.

In April 2019 DHB Admin and Clerical workers presented the Heart of the Hospital petition to parliament, with over 12,800 signatures. This was one year after the PSA lodged their pay equity claim on behalf of admin clerical members in April 2018.

The petitions called for the gender pay gap to be closed, and for pay increases that recognize the skill and expertise of DHB Admin workers alongside the historical undervaluation of that skill and expertise.


Admin & Clerical Claim Updates

Update: 8 April, 2021

We received written confirmation from the Ministry of Health that the funding to implement the Interim Pay Adjustment for our Clerical Administration Pay Equity claim has been approved by the Government and distributed to DHBs. We understand that the DHBs are implementing these payments as a matter of priority. It is very likely that each DHB will program the payment at different times depending on the different pay cycles and the payroll departments workloads.

Interim Adjustment
As advised previously the interim adjustment is a pay increase of up to $2500 that will be added to the base rates of employees who have been assessed as being paid below the agreed top benchmark rate for their role.

Several members have asked if this is a lump payment. For clarity this is not a lumpsum payment. It is a flat rate increase of up to $2500 that is added to base rates. What this means is that employees whose current rates of pay is $2500 or more below the bench marked rates will see their base pay rates increase by $2500.

The payment will be effective from 30 November 2020 and prorated for part time and casual employees. The eligibility of employees receiving the increase is determined by a mapping exercise that was carried out by DHBs.

Letters for Employees
Due to the level of variability of pay and pay frameworks across DHBs, it was not possible to implement the interim adjustment by applying it to the admin/clerical MECA pay scales as people would potentially move up the scale to a point above the benchmarked rate for the role.

DHBs will be sending out letters to employees explaining how their individual interim adjustment will apply prior to payment. This letter will advise you of the adjustment to your base salary and will form part of your employment agreement in addition to your other provisions.

The Interim adjustment may not apply to all Employees
While the interim adjustment will apply to a vast majority of employees it is noted that some employees may get a partial or no increase at all for roles that are currently paid just below or at the bench marked pay equity rate.

Current mapping process
At the time of paying the interim adjustment some roles have been assessed as requiring more work to ensure they are mapped correctly.

As you will be aware, PSA and DHBs are currently undertaking a very comprehensive mapping exercise. If the outcome confirms that employees were entitled to the interim adjustment the payment will be backdated to 30 November 2020.

Further information on the interim adjustment can be found here
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) may be found here


Update: 18 March, 2021

In the  Terms of Agreement reached by the DHBs and the PSA in November last year, a commitment was made to pay an interim adjustment effective 30 November 2020 to employees covered by the claim while the parties completed the work programme required to reach a pay equity settlement in mid-2021. The aim was to pay the interim adjustment in the first quarter of 2021.

DHBs have provided the Ministry of Health with information needed to secure the release of government-approved funding for the interim adjustment.  DHBs and the Ministry are in the final stages of working to meet the requirements.

While every attempt has been made to keep to the timeline, the Ministry was unable to release the required funding and  it will now not be possible to meet the commitment to pay the interim adjustment in the first quarter.

The interim adjustment will be made following the release of funding to DHBs.  We will confirm a timeline for pay-out as soon as possible.  We will continue to engage with the DHBs and pressure the Ministry to urgently  release the required funding so  that  DHBs can make the interim payment as soon as possible.

Further information on the interim adjustment can be found here .
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) may be found here 


Update: 30 November, 2020

An initial agreement has been reached between the Public Service Association and the country’s 20 District Health Boards in the bargaining for Clerical and Administration Pay Equity.

PSA National Secretary Kerry Davies and DHB lead Chief Executive Jim Green say the agreement is the first step towards a pay equity settlement and starts putting right the long-standing undervaluation of an essential DHB workforce.

“When finalised next year, this will be the first time these workers are covered by one national pay structure with consistent rates nationwide,” says Ms Davies.

“It’s a tremendous achievement, made possible by the hard work and courageous campaigning of admin and clerical workers across New Zealand.”

Mr Green says ratifying and implementing the agreement is a hugely complicated process.

“There are currently more than 1,500 unique job titles with a very wide range of pay rates across 20 DHBs. When we’re finished, we'll have consistent national pay rates, and a job banding structure with rates that address the undervaluation of this workforce.”

“In the meantime, there will be an interim lift in pay rates for more than 8,500 DHB clerical and administration workers. This is a step towards pay equity for a workforce that is 92 per cent female and has been historically undervalued.”

Mr Green says the interim lift will increase pay for most workers, who currently receive less than the agreed pay equity rates. As much as $2,500 a year will be added to their salaries.

“I want to congratulate all involved in reaching this major milestone. Clerical and administration workers are essential to the smooth running of DHBs and supporting the patient services DHBs provide. We look forward to continuing to progress the work towards a pay equity settlement in partnership with the PSA.”

After report back meetings conclude, PSA members will vote on whether to accept the offer as a variation to their collective employment agreements.

“This is a historic first step toward ensuring DHB clerical and admin workers get the pay and respect they deserve,” says Ms Davies.

“We look forward to sharing and discussing details of this agreement at staff meetings over the weeks ahead, and we strongly encourage all workers to attend.”


Update: 24 June, 2020

We were due to go into the bargaining phase of our Admin Pay Equity Claim in March this year, until Covid-19 struck and the negotiations were unfortunately delayed as we were unable to get sign off from Government.

We have continued to have weekly meetings with the Crown Negotiator and DHB representatives to ensure we keep the pressure on to get into the negotiation phase. We have been told that we should have sign off from Government by mid-July to commence the formal negotiations and will hopefully have an outcome shortly after that. If there are further delays with this claim, we will be coming back out to members to put further pressure on the Government to get this claim resolved.


Update: 13 February 2020

PSA and DHB Negotiating Teams met on 4 th and 5 of February to commence discussions to settle our equal pay claim on behalf of DHB admin and clerical workers across all the DHBs. We are now into the final phase of the Pay Equity Claims process.

The timeline we had set in February to enter into the formal negotiations have been delayed as the DHBs bargaining strategy will now be signed off by the Government in early March. In anticipation of the strategy being signed off we have set aside several days in March for bargaining.


Update: November 2019

We are happy to advise that the PSA DHB Clerical Administration Pay Equity Claim has reached a significant milestone.

We have established the undervaluation of DHB admin workers in comparison to other comparator roles - this means we have now completed the second phase of the process and are preparing to enter the final phase, the settlement of the claim.

This achievement is one of many milestones since the claim was first raised in November 2018, representing 7000 PSA members. The claim was raised under the process recommended by the Joint Working Group on Equal Pay Principles. Negotiations regarding undervaluation of DHB Admin & Clerical workers at the Heart of the Hospital are set to begin February 2020.

Admin & Clerical Bargaining Team

A Bargaining Team comprising 1 PSA delegates per region and 2 Organisers have been established to lead the negotiations. They comprise:

Bronni Mercier

Northern Region

Debra Williams

Midlands Region

Jennifer Rankin

Lower North Island

Nancy McShane

PSA Women's Committee

Jeanette Wilkinson

South Island

Sue McCullough

National Organiser

Ashok Shankar

National Organiser

The Bargaining Team will be further assisted by the Advisory/Reference Group that is being established representing each of the 4 Clerical Administration MECA.



Back row Nancy McShane , Ashok Shankar (PSA Organiser), Deb Williams, Sue McCullough (PSA Organiser) Bronni Mercier, Lisa Heap (PSA Equal Pay Advisor)

Front Jacky Maaka, Jeanette Wilkinson, Jennifer Rankin, Jaime Hewitson Townley

Absent: Deb Augur and Jo Taylor (PSA Campaigns Organiser)

MBIE: Pay and employment equity

An employee’s pay, conditions, experiences in the workplace and access to jobs at all levels of their workplace should not be affected by gender.

MBIE: An Introduction to Pay Equity

A resource to help employees, employers, and unions understand the early stages of the pay equity claims process.

The Public Service Commission Te Kawa Mataaho Pay Equity Resources include a series of tools and resources designed to address pay equity:

Raising a claim

Assessing a claim

While they may be a few years old, the archived resources below all contain information worth preserving. 

  • Jennifer Laulala talks about the effect of the gender pay gap, and the power of using your voice. This footage was created for the Working Women's Resource Suffrage Fund project in January 2019. 

Media Releases

Community social services workers call for equal pay

Staff at prominent not-for-profit organisations say they are paid less than they deserve because they are mostly women.

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