Equal Pay for DHB Allied, Public Health, and Technical

Raised in late 2019, 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.

This pay equity claim is in the: Assessment Phase.

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. 

 

The diagram below sets out the stages of the processes we need to follow to settle our claim: 

Pay Equity Principles Process

Of all the claims filed so far in the DHBs (including Clerical Admin and Nursing) this claim is perhaps the most complex due to the large number of occupational groups it covers. However, the work and data that will already have been collected in the other claims will expedite this claim. 

The 12 minute video below from 7 September 2020 introduces the APHT bargaining process, including:

  • Bargaining strategy and environment
  • Bargaining team EOI's
  • Ratification Procedures
  • Bargaining Issues

The Pay Equity Group comprises representatives from Te Kawa Matahoo (Public Service Commission), Treasury, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and relevant government ministries (MOH or Education) to oversee all the claims.

The Government has also appointed a Crown Negotiator who will be working with them, the DHBs, and the governance group to settle the claims once undervaluation has been identified. 

What is Pay Equity?

Our equal pay laws say that women and men should be paid equal pay for work of equal value. This is called pay equity. If a female dominated occupation has the same or similar skills, effort, conditions of work and qualifications as a male dominated occupation, then they should be paid the same.

Pay equity differs from ‘equal pay’. Equal pay means two people who are doing the same job should be paid the same regardless of their gender.  Pay equity also differs from pay parity.  Pay parity is the same pay for the same job across different employers or workplaces (e.g. receptionists at one DHB or within a DHB should both be paid the same).

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.

In 2021 we interviewed across a number of roles and established a better sense of the variety of roles within the claim, including variation between DHBs and different levels, specialties, and context within the different occupations. To ensure we accurately gather the information about the different skills, responsibilities, efforts, demands and conditions across the work covered by the claim we have now started the process of gathering wider information through questionnaires (the first round have now been sent to a selection of DHBs and have focussed on pharmacy, with other groups to follow shortly. We will use the questionnaire data to both gather the information we need about variation in the work, and ensure we are able to fully understand bench mark roles (including but not limited to practitioner, advanced practitioner, specialist, professional lead, technician, assistant, team leader etc.

The purpose of this work is to ensure we gather the information we need as efficiently as possible, without missing anything we need to fully understand how undervaluation has impacted the roles covered by the claim.  

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.