Equal pay settlement for mental health workers!

Equal pay claimants, Sandra Rawenata and Sharyn Corneal

The equal pay settlement is to be extended to include mental health support and addiction workers!

Originally these workers were excluded – a problem that our new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, promised on the campaign trail to put right.

She’s been as good as her word, to the delight of equal pay claimant, Sandra Rawenata, who anticipates a pay rise of $3 an hour.

“Oh my God, it’s amazing!” she says. “I can look forward to Christmas and having a decent celebration. I’m so excited!”

Also celebrating is fellow claimant, Sharyn Corneal, who is on $18.76 an hour, despite impressive qualifications.

“That’s great news,” says Sharyn. “It affects a lot of people and it’s good to finally be on the same playing field.”

“I just think it’s amazing, it’s wonderful news,” says Napier delegate, Huia Broughton.

“Finally, the wait is over. It’s just a real weight off my shoulders, really, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It’ll take time to process but it’s going to make a big difference to my family.”

Huia earns just $18.35 despite Level 6 qualifications and a diploma.

She says those low rates of pay have been “embarrassing” for her employers, too, who value
the workforce, and she is aware of their work in pushing for a settlement.

There is also hope the settlement will help stem the loss of community mental health workers to better paid jobs in care and support.

“It might induce more people to come into mental health. Because at the moment, if people like the job, when they hear the low pay, they just don’t accept the job,” says Sharyn.

Once the settlement is ratified by mental health and addiction workers, the equal pay case lodged by E tū and the PSA earlier this year will be withdrawn.