As of 1 March 2021, the PSA has moved from our previous three band fee structure to a six band fee structure. This restructure followed extensive consultation between the Executive Board and sector, network and Te Rūnanga committees, and was voted for by members at Congress 2020.
The shift is being implemented in phases. The first phase came into effect on 1 March 2021.
No change is being applied to the fees for Associate Members, which remain at $50 per year.
Fee restructure - phased implementation
The first phase of implementation resulted in nil fee increases for the lower paid members, a fee reduction for those being paid just above the Living Wage, and modest fee increases for the higher paid members.
1 March 2019 - 1 March 2021
1 March 2021 - 1 March 2022
|Gross annual salary||Fortnightly fees||Gross annual salary||Fortnightly fees|
|Under $19,629||$4.40||Under $19,629||$4.40|
|$19,629 - $42,744||$8.90||$19,629 - $42,744||$8.90|
|$42,745 and over||$18.00||$42,745 - $54,999||$15.40|
|$55,000 - $74,999||$18.20|
|$75,000 - $99,999||$20.00|
|$100,000 and over||$21.50|
Inflationary increase postponed 12 months
PSA Congress takes place every two years, following which the Executive Board adjusts fees with reference to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Under normal circumstances, following the 2020 Congress there would be a subscription fee increase in 2021 based on CPI movement between March 2018 and March 2022, which would apply for the following two years.
Given that many members’ households have had their income adversely impacted by the fallout from Covid-19, the Executive Board will not be applying any increase based on movements in the CPI in 2021. Instead, the six bands will be implemented based on the revenue generated by our current fees.
The Executive Board acknowledged this decision meant the union would carry a deficit in 2021/2022, but one the board considered manageable.
From 1 March 2022, the previously postponed inflation-based increase to PSA subscription rates will come into effect.
The salary band thresholds are also increasing, reflecting movement in the Labour Cost Index (LCI). This threshold adjustment will see some members move into a lower band.
The total annual fee increase ranges from $5.20 for Band 1 members, to $26.00 for Band 6 members.
|1 March 2021 - 1 March 2022||1 March 2022 - 1 March 2023|
|Gross annual salary||Fortnightly fees||Gross annual salary||Fortnightly fees|
|Under $19,629||$4.40||Under $20,525||$4.60|
|$19,629 - $42,744||$8.90||$20,525 - $45,968||$9.30|
|$42,745 - $54,999||$15.40||$45,969 - $57,510||$16.10|
|$55,000 - $74,999||$18.20||$57,511 - $78,423||$19.00|
|$75,000 - $99,999||$20.00||$78,424 - $104,564||$20.90|
|$100,000 and over||$21.50||$104,565 and over||$22.50|
From 1 March 2023 the second phase of the 2021 Fee Restructure will come into effect.
An increase based on movement in the Consumer Price Index may also be applied, reflecting the PSA’s trend of regular, small increases, allowing members manageable changes as opposed to irregular and more significant increases.
Fee restructure FAQ
The phased implementation of the new structure began on 1 March 2021, with further changes on 1 March 2022 and 1 March 2023.
From 1 March 2021, lower paid members observed no change, members just above the Living Wage received a fee decrease of $2.60 per fortnight, and members on higher incomes experienced a fortnightly fee increase up to $3.50 per fortnight.
From 1 March 2022, the previously postponed fee increase for all members will be applied based on inflation as measured by the CPI between March 2018 and March 2020. This will result in a slight fee increase for all members, from $0.20 to $1.00 per fortnight.
From 1 March 2023, a fee increase may be applied to all members with reference to the CPI inflation figures between March 2020 and March 2022, to be determined upon observation of CPI inflation figures.
PSA fee increases are required to cover the incrementally rising costs of activities and resources that we need to fund each year, including national campaigns, communications, delegate education and delivery of platforms for direct membership benefits. These are all detailed in our Annual Reports here.
Please be assured that as part of PSA’s financial management we constantly pursue ways to ensure we run efficiently and to cut out unnecessary expenditure.
No, the Associate Member Fee will not change. The fee for associate membership will remain $50 a year.
A number of communications were sent ahead of the fee restructure to inform Chief Executives, Payrolls, Delegates, and Members. These communications are as follows:
The criteria for setting PSA subscription rates are set by delegates at PSA Congress, our highest decision making body. The Executive Board, made up of our elected President, elected delegates from each of our sectors and Te Rūnanga, and our two appointed National Secretaries, is tasked with putting these decisions into practice.
Since 2004 PSA Congress has delegated the decision on subscription fee increases to the Executive Board through a policy that put in place a framework for this decision. This policy required that when the board decides on fee increases it should ensure subscription revenue is sufficient to fund union activities and that subscription rates are viewed as fair and reasonable by members. The board must also make this decision with reference to movements in the consumer price index (CPI).
While this policy doesn’t stipulate the number of fee bands, in practice we have operated with three bands for many years. The policy says the board must adjust the thresholds between the bands with reference to the Labour Cost Index and movements in the Living Wage.
The new policy, adopted from November 2020, sets out a framework that retains the elements above, but also specifies there will be 6 bands instead of the current 3. One of the criteria included in the policy is that the size of the step between each band shall not exceed 25% of the highest subscription fee. Setting a maximum size for the steps between each band ensures that the steps will remain roughly equal in size, and maintains the smoothness of the transition between bands. It also provides for a period of transition to ease the move from the current 3 bands to 6 bands.
In 2018 the PSA Executive Board requested a review of the union’s fee structure with the aim to improve its progressivity and reduce the impact of fees on members earning a Living Wage (the point at which the highest fee is currently applied).
The review process revealed points of concern that the board sought to amend through the restructure, including:
- The steepness of the increase in the fee as people move from below the Living Wage to the Living Wage (prior to the restructure, the fee roughly doubled from $8.90 to $18.00 at the Living Wage threshold)
- Our lower paid members are paying a higher percentage of their annual income in union fees, for example a member earning $45,000 a year is paying 1% of their income in fees vs a member earning over $100,00 a year paying less than 0.5% of their income in fees
As a result of the review findings it was agreed at PSA Congress 2020 to move to a more progressive system of membership fees from 2021. Given that many members’ households have had their income adversely impacted by the fallout from Covid-19, the Executive Board also agreed to postpone applying the usual fee increase in 2021 based on movements in the CPI until 1 March 2022.
A Progressive Fee Structure
We advocate for a progressive tax system in New Zealand, and we are moving to implement a more progressive system of membership fees. We consulted widely with sector committees, Te Rūnanga komiti, komiti pasefika and our union networks and found broad agreement that it’s time for change.
Just as we oppose cutbacks and service reduction in the agencies we work for, so too we are against any reduction in the worker advocacy, representation and campaigning activities of our union. We are making progress in the fight against gender and ethnic pay gaps, and we continue to win strong improvements to our collective agreements both at the negotiating table and on the picket line. This progress cannot be jeopardised, and this work costs money. We cannot afford the reduction in union strength that would come with any reduction in the union’s finances.
Sector committees and the Board all agree that any reduction in fees for lower income members must be balanced by an increase in fees for higher earning members in order to maintain revenue neutrality. This means more fee bands will be introduced at different levels of income, with those members earning significantly more paying a modest amount more in fees.