Driving and achieving equal pay: the PSA's insights into its first equal pay settlements

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Driving and achieving equal pay: the PSA's insights into its first equal pay settlements

 

Abstract

In 2017 New Zealand’s first equal pay settlement for care and support workers in the health and disability sectors was agreed between unions, employers and the Crown, thus settling a claim raised under the 1972 Equal Pay Act. It resulted in significant improvements in the pay and conditions of the female dominated workforce. It also led to the establishment of a tripartite joint working group tasked with developing a set of principles to inform future claims under the 1972 Equal Pay Act. These principles have been used as the basis of the approach undertaken by the New Zealand Public Services Association (PSA) and Oranga Tamariki to resolve the PSA’s recently settled equal pay claim for social worker. This is the first time the principles have been used to guide an equal pay claim. This paper uses action research to discuss the processes that unions followed in both equal pay claims, including the development and application of the principles, lessons learned from the process, and identifies some possible challenges ahead for those wanting to progress equal pay settlements. It also reports on the findings of an impact evaluation of the care and support settlement for PSA members.