Equal Pay


It's 2019 and it's time women were paid 100%. We need to keep our momentum up and ensure all working women are paid what they are worth.

With the 2017 community care and support workers' equal pay win, and the recent announcement of a historic settlement for social workers at Oranga Tamariki, we are achieving our goals for equal pay in New Zealand.

However, we still have our work cut out for us. There's pay discrimination because of roles currently or historically being done predominantly by women. Māori and Pasefika women are paid on average even more poorly, despite working just as hard doing jobs of equal value.

These things need to change. And to change them we need you! With our current claim for administration and clerical staff in all DHBs, this groundbreaking case will make way for further admin workers to achieve equal pay.

Working for free

From November 18, New Zealand women work for free until the end of the year because of the gender pay imbalance between men and women.

Pay inequality is even worse for Māori and Pasefika women, who started working for free on on 12 October for Māori women (22.1% pay gap) and 29 September for Pacefika women (25.5%).

See the table below to find out what date you started working for free from this year:


Become an equal pay advocate

Become an equal pay advocate by clicking the 'join campaign' button at the top of this page.

As an advocate you will receive regular newsletters, and opportunities to develop your skills that can help achieve Equal Pay

Want to keep up to date on events and news? Like the Public Service Association Worth 100%- Equal Pay Facebook page. We post regular updates.

The only way we can achieve equal pay is working together.

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2017 Care and Support workers
2018 Mental Health and Addiction support workers
2018 Oranga Tamariki social workers 

In negotiation with employers

DHB admin/clerical workers - bargaining to start soon following the completion of interviews and data analysis
DHB allied health workers - terms of reference being finalised
DHB mental health nurses – 200 interviews being conducted across all DHBs
Local Government Library Assistants – claim made to six big councils, terms of reference being exchanged
NGO social workers and social service workers – letters sent to five employers raising pay equity claims 
Public Service/ACC/Kāinga Ora – Claim lodged with 41 Organisations for Administrative/Clerical/Contact Centre and Customer Service Workers

Under consideration

Administration and support workers across PSA

Public Service/ACC/Kāinga Ora – Claim lodged with 41 Organisations for Administrative/Clerical/Contact Centre and Customer Service Workers


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.

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.

Support work is paid around one-third less than work with similar levels of skills and qualifications but largely done by men.

Latest pay and cost movement, gender and ethnic pay and collective coverage stats. 

Here are the latest pay and cost movement stats, based on info from Stats NZ and the CTU.


Pay Movement

Overall movement in the Labour Cost Index for the last 12 months is +2%.

  • 1.9% in the public sector.  2% in the private sector.

42% of workers did not receive a pay increase in the last 12 months.

For those who did receive a pay increase:

  • Of those working in the public sector, the median increase was 2.4%
  • Of those working in the private sector, the median increase was 2.9%



Prices:  The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 1.5% over the last 12 months.

Costs:  The Household Living Costs Index (HLC) increased by 1.5% over the last 12 months:

  • For the lowest income households, the HLC increased by 1.9%.  For the highest income households, the HLC increased by 1.2%.



The whole of economy gender pay gap was 9.3% in the June quarter.  While over time it is trending down, you will see from the chart below that it has remained relatively static since 2017. 


When women’s median hourly earnings increase slower than men’s the gender pay gap increases.  In the last quarter they increased at roughly the same rate – 3.2% for women and 3.3% for men.

The gender pay gap varies by occupation:


Over the last 12 months there were increases in average hourly wages and salaries for these ethnic groups: Māori (4.3 percent), Asian (4.3 percent), Pacific peoples (3.7 percent), and European (3.3 percent). 

Median weekly earnings from wages and salaries also increased for these ethnic groups: Pacific (5.1 percent), Māori (4.1 percent), and Asian (3.8 percent).

graph 3

Overall collective agreement coverage fell over the last quarter – from 19.1% to 18.7%.  In the industry groupings where most of our members’ work:

  • Public administration and safety increased by 8%
  • Healthcare and social assistance decreased by 4%.


Go here for the latest CTU Economic Bulletin.  Go here to access wage movement data from the StatsNZ website.


DHB admin workers paid up to 45pc less for being women, union says-  26 September 2018




Historic milestone with the settlement of pay equity for social workers at Oranga Tamariki- 25 September 2018

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Pasfikia Women working for free for rest of the year -24th September 2018




Work done mainly by women is generally undervalued; skills and experience are largely ignored.

In the past, men were the bread-winners and women the carers and home-makers. When women entered the paid workforce, they were paid less than men by law. Historical assumptions still influence the pay difference between men and women.

Community-based support services for the elderly, disabled, and mentally ill are funded mainly by the government but provided by a minimum-wage workforce, mainly women. The low rates of pay don’t reflect the value of this essential work nor the range of skills required.

A job evaluation commissioned by the PSA found that support work is paid around one-third less than work with similar levels of skills and qualifications but largely done by men. Last year, the Employment Court found that a support worker’s $14.32 hourly rate was the result of gender discrimination in breach of the Equal Pay Act. The ground-breaking decision is under appeal.

Administrative work is another example of undervaluing work done mainly by women. In hospitals, it’s the only occupational group not to have national rates, with the result that, in some parts of the country, admin workers are paid little more than the minimum wage.

Men who work in these sorts of jobs are also disadvantaged by these low rates of pay.


Select link to download PDF:
Driving and achieving equal pay: the PSA's insights into its first equal pay settlements



In 2017 New Zealand’s first equal pay settlement for care and support workers in the health and disability sectors was agreed between unions, employers and the Crown, thus settling a claim raised under the 1972 Equal Pay Act. It resulted in significant improvements in the pay and conditions of the female dominated workforce. It also led to the establishment of a tripartite joint working group tasked with developing a set of principles to inform future claims under the 1972 Equal Pay Act. These principles have been used as the basis of the approach undertaken by the New Zealand Public Services Association (PSA) and Oranga Tamariki to resolve the PSA’s recently settled equal pay claim for social worker. This is the first time the principles have been used to guide an equal pay claim. This paper uses action research to discuss the processes that unions followed in both equal pay claims, including the development and application of the principles, lessons learned from the process, and identifies some possible challenges ahead for those wanting to progress equal pay settlements. It also reports on the findings of an impact evaluation of the care and support settlement for PSA members.

Even in occupations that are not traditionally undervalued, women can experience discrimination and lower pay.

Fewer women are appointed to the higher-earning senior positions. Women make up 60 percent of the public service workforce but only 30 percent of the top jobs.

Discretionary pay systems, which have prevailed across the public sector, have been shown to disadvantage women. Women tend to be placed on lower starting rates than men with equivalent skills, and experience slower salary progression.



The Equal Pay Snap shot tool

This Equal Pay Snap Shot is a tool to analyse what we know about your workplace.


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Equal Pay Group Advocate Sign up form

You have signed up to be an Equal Pay Advocate, now why not sign up others. Use this handy group sign up form https://www.psa.org.nz/assets/new-equal-pay-advocates-sign-up-form.pdf


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Pay equity booklet




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