This Pay Equity claim is in the: Assessment Phase

Latest Update

March 2023

We’re pleased to let you know that assessment has now concluded! That means that not only do we have the information we need about your work - we’ve also finished assessing our comparator roles from male dominated professions too!

This gives us heaps of data that we can now start analysing to see if there is sex-based undervaluation and what the extent of undervaluation could be. Once we understand that, we will have an idea of what kind of pay corrections we may need to achieve Pay Equity.

Sounds good! What’s next?
Well, we’ll be spending a bit of time analysing that data, which allows us to identify and map any areas of sex-based undervaluation.

While we’re doing that, we want to make sure that we are taking every opportunity to refine our understanding of your work so the final outcomes can be as accurate as possible. As part of this we will be running a focus group with worker representatives over the next couple of months. 

Finally, we are also beginning pre-bargaining conversations as we look to enter formal negotiations to settle the Pay Equity claim, and to establish an ongoing maintenance process to ensure undervalued roles don’t fall behind again. Exciting!

Previous Updates

Joint claim update - March 2022:
Public Service Pay Equity Claims Update

The work assessment phase of the Public Sector Pay Equity Claims is closing in on meeting a significant milestone – completion of work assessment interviews. This is thanks to people in the claims, their supervisors and Claim Leads within each agency, who participated in or coordinated work assessment interviews across the Public Sector.

The work assessment interviews at a glance

The claims, which involve over 16,000 people in 44 agencies across the Public Sector, are following a legislative process set out in the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020. The process for any Public Sector pay equity claim includes three distinct phases: raising a claim, assessing a claim and settling a claim. The work assessment interviews are a key component of assessing a claim.

Since July 2021 union and employer interviewers have undertaken interviews with people as far north as Whangarei to the deep south of Invercargill and every major centre in between. Here is a snapshot of what has happened across the claims:

  • 608 interviews completed
  • 37 agencies involved in interviews
  • 706 hours of interviews
  • 202 roles interviewed for
  • 33 interviewers used

Two final interviews scheduled with employees – which are to be conducted in Te Reo Māori, will complete the interview phase.

Work is already underway on the next steps

The work assessment phase also involves assessing the work of both claimants and comparators. Comparators are usually male-dominated workforces who undertake work similar work to claimants in terms of skills, experience, responsibility and effort. Previously settled claims covering the same or similar work may also be used as comparators.

The unions and the employer team (which is hosted by Te Kawa Mataaho) are currently assessing the work of people in the claims by analysing the notes from the work assessment interviews in order to build “work profiles”. The work profiles will draw on the data collected from the work assessment interviews and other supporting information.

Join claim update - September 2021:
PSA Public Service Clerical and Administrative Pay Equity Claim

Joint Claim Update - September 2021

What is pay equity?

Pay equity is about women and men receiving the same pay for doing jobs that are different but are of equal value.  It recognises that while on the surface two jobs may look very different to each other, they require the same or similar degrees of skills, responsibility, conditions, experience and effort.

In some instances, workers in female dominated occupations have experienced undervaluation based on sex, perceptions and prejudices, which minimised their skills, responsibilities, conditions, experience and effort required by their work.

By comparing the work and pay of female dominated occupations with male dominated comparator occupations, pay equity ensures that workers in female dominated occupations receive pay that properly recognises the value of the work that they do.

In brief, pay equity is about correcting any undervaluation of female dominated workforces.

What is the PSA Public Service Clerical and Administrative Work Pay Equity Claim?

On 31 October 2019 the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) raised a pay equity claim on behalf of PSA members “who predominantly perform clerical and administrative work (however described or defined) including those who perform customer support work and call centre work”. These roles are performed predominately by women and may be undervalued due to sex. This claim covers 43 public service agencies and a large number of roles.

The claim was lodged under the Equal Pay Act 1972. The legislation aims to make it easier to raise a pay equity claim and encourages collaboration and evidence-based decision making to address any pay equity.

Following the signing of the Bargaining Process Agreement, required under the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020, the unions and chief executives seek to resolve the claim as efficiently and effectively as possible. The pay equity process will be worked through jointly by the parties and in accordance with that agreement.

Subsequently, three further unions have raised claims for their members covered by the scope of the PSA claim. The unions are:

  • New Zealand Police Association, at New Zealand Police
  • Taxpro, at Inland Revenue
  • NUPE, at Oranga Tamariki and Department of Corrections

The unions have all agreed with the PSA to consolidate the claims and how they will work together through the claim.

The unions who raised claims consider achieving pay equity a high priority for their membership covered by the claim. The 43 chief executives consider that resolving this claim is a high priority for their agencies and their employees in these roles.

This claim is large and complex. It impacts a wide range of roles across many agencies. The process to complete the claim is evidenced-based, and it will take time to capture and analyse the information needed to assess the claim.

What is the pay equity process?

Click to enlarge

The pay equity claim process consists of three main phases:

  1. Raising a claim– which includes a claim being raised and the work described, the employer forming a view on arguability, and notifying affected employees and relevant unions who have members covered by this claim. This includes notification to new employees as the join agencies (See FAQs).
  2. Assessing the claim– which includes assessing the work of the claimants, identifying comparators, assessing the work of the comparators, comparing the work and remuneration of the claimant and comparators, compiling the work and remuneration assessment and comparison, and drawing conclusions on whether undervaluation is found or not.
  3. Settling the claim– which includes bargaining to correct any undervaluation, ratification of any proposed outcome by the claimant employees, and concluding the pay equity claim, including implementation and process for reviewing and maintaining pay equity

What’s happening now?

The parties have commenced the work assessment phase. The work assessment phase involves assessing the work of claimants and comparators. This helps us to determine whether the work covered by the claim, which has been predominantly performed by women, has been undervalued.  

Currently unions and employers are jointly conducting claimant interviews to better the type of work being performed across the 43 agencies. A sample of roles have been selected to ensure a balanced view of the work is collected.

A sample of employees and their supervisors have been asked to participate in this important step. If you are offered an interview, we encourage you to agree. When you accept an invitation to be interviewed you will receive an invite and information about how to find out more prior to your interview taking place.

The interview covers a range of things such as the skills, responsibilities, conditions of work and the degree of effort involved in the work of the claimants, te ao Māori at work.   

Part of the work of the assessment phase of the claim is to identify potential male dominated comparator roles for assessment.  The assessment of these roles follows a similar process of interviewing and gathering information so that later that information can be used to determine any undervaluation of the claimant roles.

What impact do COVID Alert Level changes have on the claim?

The Pay Equity Claim will still progress through all Alert Levels, although it may be affected by any restrictions bought about by those alert levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pay Equity is about people in female dominated professions and people in male dominated professions receiving the same pay for doing jobs that are different, but of equal value. That is, jobs that require similar levels of skills, responsibility, and effort.

Historically, there is a lot of work that has been traditionally considered as “women’s work”, and has therefore been performed predominantly by women.

This often falls along the lines of “caring work” such as  healthcare workers, teachers, Social Workers, or work that is considered “low skill”, like administration workers. A large number of people in these professions are employed across the Public Service.

Over time, the pay for this kind of work has steadily fallen behind work in other occupations that might be of similar valuebut has historically been performed by or associated with men (engineering, law enforcement, prisons).

Pay Equity is about establishing the extent of the undervaluation for those traditionally female dominated professions, negotiating a pay adjustment to remove undervaluation, and then maintaining pay rates over time to ensure that women never suffer from gender based pay inequities again.

This is one of the most important concepts in Pay Equity.

Value is about measuring work by all of the skills that go into it - not just the stated duties and qualifications. Different Pay Equity claims use different tools to measure the value of a role - but it includes things like:

  • Knowledge (academic and non academic/lived experiences).
  • Problem-solving (the kinds of problems someone faces in the workplace, what it takes to solve them, and what support they have in doing it)
  • Interpersonal and communication skills (the skills required to communicate, establish and maintain relationships, the complexity of interactions, and the importance of outcomes).
  • Te Ao Māori skills
  • Planning and organisational skills (the nature and complexity of tasks, the level of uncertainty required, the level of autonomy and responsibility).
  • Physical skills (physical or fine motor skills required on the job, and how hard they are to learn and perform).
  • Responsibility for people leadership (both ‘direct’ leadership and leading through influence).
  • Responsibility for information (gathering, processing, maintaining, developing information - as well as the sensitivity or significance of information managed).
  • Responsibility for physical and financial resources.
  • Responsibility for organisational outcomes.
  • Responsibility for services to people (what services they provide to others, the importance or significance of these services).
  • Emotional effort.
  • Sensory effort.
  • Physical effort (separate to physical skills - the physical intensity of the role and the impact of this on the person).
  • Working conditions (the nature of the work environment - including pleasantness, hazards, and comfort).

Our Pay Equity process aims to identify and assess these factors (and more) to create a profile of different types of work. We then compare these profiles to profiles of comparable positions in male dominated areas. This allows us to establish the undervaluation of the work, which we then seek to address through negotiations.

Because many of these elements have historically not been measured for many female dominated occupations, this process could have a significant impact on pay for thousands of Public Service workers .

We use a tool called Te Orowaru to assess your work.

Click here to read more about Te Orowaru.

This claim covers over 16,000 workers across over 40 Public Service Agencies. 

We can't list them all here - so have a look at our letter raising the claim to get an idea of the coverage!

Promotional resources

Posters, graphics and other resources to help you and your colleagues learn about and promote the Pay Equity claim! 

Download copies of our member stories about how various roles are being undervalued (and why we need Pay Equity) to print and share in your workplaces.

Adrienne's story

Jo-Anne's story

Kahu's story

Karen's story

Pammy's story

Pauline's story

Sally's story

Background to the Claim

In 2019 the PSA lodged a Pay Equity claim for contact centre, customer service and admin/clerical workers across over 40 agencies in the public sector.

The claim has now grown to include four different unions - the PSA, TaxPro (at Inland Revenue), NUPE (Oranga Tamariki and Department of Corrections) and the New Zealand Police Association. The PSA and New Zealand Police Association are leading this work on behalf of the unions.

The PSA believes that members covered by this claim suffer from unlawful gender-based pay discrimination as defined under the Act.  This work has historically, and is currently, predominantly performed by female employees and it is currently, and has historically, been undervalued.  This claim is being made under the Equal Pay Act 1972 (the Act) and the Government Service Equal Pay Act 1960. 

Our letter to Chief Executives formally raises a claim on behalf of PSA members who predominantly perform clerical and administrative work, however defined or described, and without limitation to this term including those who perform customer support work and call centre work,  outlining the basis of the claim and a proposed pathway for addressing the gender-based undervaluation of these workers. 

Click here to read the PSA's letter raising this claim.