Life-changing mental health and addictions settlement rights a former wrong

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Around 5000 mental health and addiction support workers will be paid what they are worth, after the ground-breaking care and support settlement was extended to cover them.

Health minister David Clark has signed the $173.5 million pay equity settlement today, along with representatives from unions, providers and the Ministry of Health.

"These workers were unfairly left out of the equal pay care and support settlement by the National government, and we’re thrilled to see this wrong righted today," PSA Assistant National Secretary Kerry Davies says.

"They do crucial work with some of the most vulnerable people in New Zealand, and today they are getting what they truly deserve - because they are worth 100%."

"We’re really happy the government has honoured its election commitment to extend the care and support settlement to mental health and addiction support workers," E tū Assistant National Secretary John Ryall says.

"They had to wait, but it’s been worth waiting."

PSA Delegate Tarn Evans says today is a hard-won victory which will make a huge difference.

"The work we do is challenging and demanding, and today’s settlement recognises the value of our mahi - and the value of the people we support," she says.

"Many mental health and addiction support workers are paid at or just above the minimum wage, and it’s really hard to make ends meet.

"Now, we’ll be able to feed our families, pay our bills and put fuel in our cars without worrying if there’s enough left in our bank accounts."

The settlement will see more than half of workers in the sector get an increase of more than $3 an hour - and one in five will get more than $5 an hour.

The increase will be backdated to July 2017.