Now more than ever, undervalued admin workers deserve pay and respect
22 Apr 2020
Our hospitals, courts, government departments and local councils can’t function without admin workers, so when will they get the pay and respect they deserve?
Public Service Association members around NZ are asking this question as we today celebrate international Admin Appreciation Day.
PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says admin workers have been undervalued for decades, in large part because they are mostly women.
"Our union represents thousands of admin workers in the health sector, the justice system, and other ministries and councils who make it possible through their hard work for crucial community services to operate," she says.
"Admin workers have always been essential, and their work should always have been respected and paid accordingly. Front line workers appreciate the kind words they’ve received in recent weeks but they need more than that to stay safe on the job and pay the bills at home."
When a sick person goes into a hospital Emergency Department, the people sitting behind the desk who first talk to them and process their details are admin and clerical workers.
As the Covid crisis deepened in New Zealand, PPE was provided and perspex shields installed for many workers who interact directly with the public.
Many admin and clerical staff saw these appear in supermarkets before they received them in their own workplaces.
"While many of us look forward to lowering lockdown levels with relief, admin and clerical staff brace themselves for a skyrocketing workload as surgeries and appointments resume being scheduled and previously dormant systems are reactivated," says Ms Polaczuk.
"Perhaps the only silver lining of the Covid-19 crisis is the spotlight it has shone on workers in the margins, revealing them to be the backbone of our real economy. We will no longer allow admin workers to be ignored."
The PSA encourages everyone to visit the online Admin Appreciation Board and leave a message of thanks to the hard working people who keep our society functioning, even in the most trying times.