Pay Equity for Public Service, ACC and Kāinga Ora

The PSA has set itself the goal that by 2024 all PSA members will be paid equally for work of equal value.

We are working hard to achieve this for PSA members in the Public Service/ACC and Kāinga Ora.

You may have heard of the great outcomes for Oranga Tamariki social workers from our equal pay claim, but there is other work going on behind the scenes. 

Read on to find out more about our progress.


Don't miss out on our pay equity claim:

Join the PSA now

PSA Public Service Clerical and Administrative Pay Equity Claim

What is pay equity?

Pay equity is about women and men receiving the same pay for doing jobs that are different but are of equal value.  It recognises that while on the surface two jobs may look very different to each other, they require the same or similar degrees of skills, responsibility, conditions, experience and effort.

In some instances, workers in female dominated occupations have experienced undervaluation based on sex, perceptions and prejudices, which minimised their skills, responsibilities, conditions, experience and effort required by their work.

By comparing the work and pay of female dominated occupations with male dominated comparator occupations, pay equity ensures that workers in female dominated occupations receive pay that properly recognises the value of the work that they do.

In brief, pay equity is about correcting any undervaluation of female dominated workforces.

What is the PSA Public Service Clerical and Administrative Work Pay Equity Claim?

On 31 October 2019 the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) raised a pay equity claim on behalf of PSA members “who predominantly perform clerical and administrative work (however described or defined) including those who perform customer support work and call centre work”. These roles are performed predominately by women and may be undervalued due to sex. This claim covers 43 public service agencies and a large number of roles.

The claim was lodged under the Equal Pay Act 1972. The legislation aims to make it easier to raise a pay equity claim and encourages collaboration and evidence-based decision making to address any pay equity.

Following the signing of the Bargaining Process Agreement, required under the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020, the unions and chief executives seek to resolve the claim as efficiently and effectively as possible. The pay equity process will be worked through jointly by the parties and in accordance with that agreement.

Subsequently, three further unions have raised claims for their members covered by the scope of the PSA claim. The unions are:

  • New Zealand Police Association, at New Zealand Police
  • Taxpro, at Inland Revenue
  • NUPE, at Oranga Tamariki and Department of Corrections

The unions have all agreed with the PSA to consolidate the claims and how they will work together through the claim.

The unions who raised claims consider achieving pay equity a high priority for their membership covered by the claim.The 43 chief executives consider that resolving this claim is a high priority for their agencies and their employees in these roles.

This claim is large and complex. It impacts a wide range of roles across many agencies. The process to complete the claim is evidenced-based, and it will take time to capture and analyse the information needed to assess the claim.

What is the pay equity process?


Click to enlarge

The pay equity claim process consists of three main phases:

  1. Raising a claim– which includes a claim being raised and the work described, the employer forming a view on arguability, and notifying affected employees and relevant unions who have members covered by this claim. This includes notification to new employees as the join agencies (See FAQs).
  2. Assessing the claim– which includes assessing the work of the claimants, identifying comparators, assessing the work of the comparators, comparing the work and remuneration of the claimant and comparators, compiling the work and remuneration assessment and comparison, and drawing conclusions on whether undervaluation is found or not.
  3. Settling the claim– which includes bargaining to correct any undervaluation, ratification of any proposed outcome by the claimant employees, and concluding the pay equity claim, including implementation and process for reviewing and maintaining pay equity

What’s happening now?

The parties have commenced the work assessment phase. The work assessment phase involves assessing the work of claimants and comparators. This helps us to determine whether the work covered by the claim, which has been predominantly performed by women, has been undervalued.  

Currently unions and employers are jointly conducting claimant interviews to better the type of work being performed across the 43 agencies. A sample of roles have been selected to ensure a balanced view of the work is collected.

A sample of employees and their supervisors have been asked to participate in this important step. If you are offered an interview, we encourage you to agree. When you accept an invitation to be interviewed you will receive an invite and information about how to find out more prior to your interview taking place.

The interview covers a range of things such as the skills, responsibilities, conditions of work and the degree of effort involved in the work of the claimants, te ao Māori at work.   

Part of the work of the assessment phase of the claim is to identify potential male dominated comparator roles for assessment.  The assessment of these roles follows a similar process of interviewing and gathering information so that later that information can be used to determine any undervaluation of the claimant roles.

What impact do COVID Alert Level changes have on the claim?

The Pay Equity Claim will still progress through all Alert Levels, although it may be affected by any restrictions bought about by those alert levels.

For more information:

Frequently Asked Questions

The Gender Pay Gap and Pay Equity

The Public Service Equal Pay claim is underway, and we need your help to Make It Real!

We're talking to PSA members covered by the claim to find out more about how various roles are being undervalued, and why we need Equal Pay. Click on the stories below to  download PDF copies to print and share in your workplaces.

Pammy Thompson, Customer Services Officer
Inland Revenue

 Make It Real Pammy Article

Sally McCoy, Board Liaison Office
Department of Corrections, Northland

 Make It Real Sally Article A4

Karen Munro, Team Administrator 

 Make It Real Karen ACC Article2

Kahu Lousiale-Tahaafe, Customer Services Officer
Department of Internal Affairs, Auckland

 Make It Real Kahu Article

Adrienne Dunford, Administration Officer
Education Review Office, Napier

Make It Real Adrienne Article

Jo-Anne Stroman, Workplace Administrator
Oranga Tamariki, Porirua

Make It Real Jo Anne Article

Jessi Abrams, Customer Service Rep
Work and Income Contact Centre, Christchurch 

Make It Real Jessie Article

Pauline Burgess, District Court Scheduler
Ministry of Justice, Rotorua

Make It Real Pauline Burgess Article

PublicServiceIn October 2019, a claim was made for the implementation of Equal Pay on behalf of PSA members who predominantly perform clerical and administrative work. 

The PSA believes that members covered by this claim suffer from unlawful gender-based pay discrimination as defined under the Act.  This work has historically, and is currently, predominantly performed by female employees and it is currently, and has historically, been undervalued.  This claim is being made under the Equal Pay Act 1972 (the Act) and the Government Service Equal Pay Act 1960. 

This letter formally raises a claim on behalf of PSA members who predominantly perform clerical and administrative work, however defined or described, and without limitation to this term including those who perform customer support work and call centre work,  outlining the basis of the claim and a proposed pathway for addressing the gender-based undervaluation of these workers.

Click here to read the claim letter.

The PSA has been working towards Equal Pay for Public Servants through a myriad of channels. 

Gender Pay Principles agreed

After a claim filed by us against the State Services Commissioner on behalf of all woman public servants, the Gender Pay Principles Working Group was established. It is made up of unions, State Sector agencies and the Commission, and through a collaborative process we have agreed a set of Gender Pay Principles.

The aim of the Principles is to ensure working environments in the State Sector are free from gender- based inequalities, all employees are able to achieve their full potential regardless of their gender, and gender pay gaps are eliminated. The Working Group, including PSA reps, is currently producing suites of guidance , and workshops for agencies to help them deliver on the Principles and the Government's Gender Pay Gap Action Plan.

Mana Wahine claim progressing

In an historic milestone for the PSA, Te Rūnanga o Ngā Toa Āwhina has taken a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal Claim Wai 2864 calls on the Crown to address inequities in employment suffered by wāhine Māori that have relegated generations of wāhine Māori to low paid jobs with vulnerable work conditions.

Government Gender Pay Action Plan underway

The PSA agreed this with the government   It sets out the main actions needed to achieve equal pay in the Public Service. This includes that, by the end of next year, all agencies will have eliminated pay gaps for women and men in the same roles; there will be flexible working by default; and pay systems and starting salaries will be free from bias and discrimination.

Your Agency's Gender Pay Action Plans

Each department is required to have a Gender Pay Action Plan that is updated every year. Your PSA reps are engaging with your employer to make sure that they do have a plan in place and that it meets our expectations.

Identifying the priority areas for future equal pay claims

We are co-chairing - with an agency-lead - a joint working group that has been tasked by Ministers to identify the jobs in the public service that are low-paid and female-dominated, and with a large proportion of Māori or Pasefika job holders. These will be the priority areas for future equal pay claims.

Our PSA Public Service Sector Strategy

As your reps on the PSA Public Service Sector Committee, we have set a strategy that includes the activity above and also raising equal pay, and in particular the Gender Pay Principles, in all collective bargaining where your terms and conditions of employment are renegotiated.

The PSA has been campaigning to end the gender pay gap for over 100 years.

Our research shows that clerical and administrative roles, including those working in customer support and contact centre roles, comprise the largest occupational group of female dominated roles in the Public Service, ACC and Kāinga Ora.  The PSA have made claim on behalf of its members employed in these roles.

The claim is made on behalf of PSA members only. We know that the value of standing together as a union offers the best chance we have of achieving the unions goals of eliminating gender discrimination in pay for all our members. If you know someone who is employed in these roles and is not a union member, ask them to join the PSA so they can be part of the solution.

Initially we are using a broad definition of roles that may be defined as ‘those who perform clerical and administrative work including customer support work and call centre work’. This is for four primary reasons:

  1. To support our decision to include all Public Service Organisations (plus ACC and Kāinga Ora) in the process. 
  2. To ensure that we cover as many roles as possible at the outset.
  3. That we make the process as efficient and cover as many PSA members as possible.
  4. To recognise that are will be many different job titles in our organisations which might have different titles but do the same work.

We provided employers with an indicative list of positions covered by the claim. It is not until the employer agrees there is an arguable claim, and we begin the process of assessing the claim, that we will know which roles are included. That process will take some time and, even if included, it does not indicate that the roles are underpaid.   That list is also at the end of these FAQ’s.

We have used the definition ‘those who perform clerical and administrative work including customer support work and call centre work’ to describe the work being done as part of the claim.

  1. Controller and Auditor General
  2. Crown Law Office
  3. Department of Conversation
  4. Department of Corrections
  5. Department of Internal Affairs
  6. Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
  7. Education Review Office
  8. Government Communications Security Bureau
  9. Inland revenue
  10. Land Information New Zealand
  11. Ministry of Social Development
  12. Manatu Taonga - Ministry for Culture and Heritage
  13. Ministry for Pacific Peoples
  14. Ministry for Primary Industries
  15. Ministry for Women
  16. Ministry for the Environment
  17. Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
  18. Ministry of Defence
  19. Ministry of Education
  20. Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade
  21. Ministry of Health
  22. Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
  23. Ministry of Justice
  24. Ministry of Transport
  25. New Zealand Customs Service
  26. New Zealand Defence Force
  27. New Zealand Police
  28. Office of the clerk of the house of representatives
  29. Oranga Tamariki
  30. Parliamentary Counsel Office
  31. Parliamentary service
  32. Pike River Recovery Agency
  33. Social Investment Agency
  34. State Services Commission
  35. Statistics New Zealand
  36. Te Arawhiti
  37. Te Puni Kōkiri
  38. The Treasury
  39. Accident Compensation Corporation
  40. Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities

The employers who are subject to these claim need to respond formally to the PSA about whether or not they believe that the claim is arguable. We are working together with the State Services Commission to provide supporting information so that they can liaise with employers to assist with this part of the process. We expect to hear back from employers around 31 January 2020.

There are currently a number of other active claims underway.  The one in the PSA closest to this claim is the DHB Admin Clerical claim. There are also claims in some Local Government Organisations for Library Assistants, and in our Community Public Services Sector.