Social workers launch historic equal pay claim

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Today the Public Service Association (PSA), the union for social workers filed an historic case seeking equal pay for social work, an occupation dominated by women and undervalued for years.

The case is filed under the Equal Pay Act 1972 and alleges social workers at Child, Youth and Family do not receive equal pay on the basis of gender and seeks a determination of what they should be paid.

Erin Polaczuk, PSA national secretary, said "This is a monumental step to get equal pay for social workers, who have been underpaid for years,"

"Social workers in New Zealand are underpaid, and this can be attributed to the workforce being well over 70% women.

"Social workers have a huge responsibility for the welfare of vulnerable children, but the workforce do not receive the pay they would if staff were predominantly men.

"The work Social Workers do is crucial to the wellbeing of the next generation, and it’s important they are properly valued for it.

"Social Workers have been seeking equal pay for years and while their employer recognizes the role is highly demanding both emotionally and physically, equal pay has still not been achieved.

"We are hopeful that we will not need to pursue this case through the Courts and that the Government’s working group will deliver equal pay for Social Workers," Said Erin Polaczuk.