Historic equal pay settlement takes effect but questions remain
30 Jun 2017
At midnight, the historic pay equity settlement for 55,000 care and support workers will take effect, but questions around door-closing legislation and funding remain and must be addressed by the Government, says the PSA.
Helen Amey, PSA delegate and home support worker, is one of the workers whose pay will substantially improve as a result of the landmark settlement between Government, providers and the PSA, E tū and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation.
"It’s exciting! We’re getting the best of both worlds now - my work already makes me feel emotionally fulfilled and valued, and I really love my clients - but now we’ll be financially fulfilled too," says Ms Amey.
"I’ll finally be able to give my kids the extras that I couldn’t before. That’s huge for my family, and it’s good for community and the local economy too."
But questions have been raised around the Government’s commitment to fully fund the settlement, and transparency and clear communication to care and support providers and workers is essential as the settlement takes effect, says Kerry Davies, PSA acting national secretary.
"Providers are seeking guarantees of full funding, so it’s important that the Government steps in to reassure them of how they’ll be meeting their side of the agreement," says Ms Davies.
"There are also major problems with the legislation proposed to replace the Equal Pay Act 1972, which may close the door on further equal pay settlements."
"I think it’s shocking. If entire industries are underpaid because they mainly employ women, they should have the same right to pursue an equal pay claim as us," says Helen Amey.
"I think of my friends and colleagues in the community mental health support sector whose work is often dangerous and stressful, but they’re unfairly missing out on this settlement."
"I’m proud that I got to be a part of this important moment in history, and seeing that first paycheque is going to be incredible."
"I just hope our workers aren’t the last ones to feel this sense of relief at being fairly paid for the work they do at last."