Pay equity update – June 2023

Refresh on your pay equity claim

E tū and other unions raised a claim on behalf of 15 employers in the care and support sector on 1 July 2022 to get pay equity for care and support workers.

The employers are:

Healthcare NZ, Geneva Healthcare, NZ Community living, VisionWest, Spectrum Care, Te Roopu Taurima, Emerge Aotearoa, Pathways Health, Toucan Taranaki, LifeWise Trust, Presbyterian Support Central, Bupa, Pacific Homecare, CCS Disability, and Dunedin Community Care.

How will workers who are under a different employer receive the pay settlement?

There is a process known as the ‘funded framework’.

This allows for an extension of the pay equity outcome to all workers whose employers are government funded, and who do the same work as the care and support workers as described for the employers named in the claim.

Unfortunately though, this process doesn’t guarantee that all workers will get the new pay equity rates at the same time.

However, we are strongly advocating for this to happen. We want to see every care and support worker receive pay equity at the same time.

The pay equity process so far – steps we have taken

The pay equity process has a framework that must be followed.

  1. The first step is that argubility is established. This has been done, so now can tick that off!

  2. Next, employers and unions need to figure out how to work together to progress the claim and get resource to manage the parties to support the work that needs to be done. Another tick! – this has also been done.

  3. Then comes the evidence the employers and unions need to prove our case. We have interviewed care and support workers all over Aotearoa to assess the skills, responsibility, and the degree of effort in the work you all do. We did around 50 interviews all up. If you were interviewed, thank you! From these, we developed a ‘worker profile’ of care and support workers.

  4. Next, we started looking at what we call ‘comparators’. That’s workers who work in male-dominated jobs that demand the same level of skills, responsibility and degree of effort that is required of care work. We found three jobs that fit this profile.

  5. Over five days, a small group of employer and union reps met to compare the work of care and support workers with the three jobs that are male-dominated. They then agreed on points attached to all those roles. Another tick!

  6. Based on this evidence, all parties need to agree that ‘undervaluation’ exists. This means that there is evidence that says that care and support workers have been discriminated against because it is work largely done by women. Another tick!

  7. We have also had a number of workshops looking at the terms and conditions of care and support workers at the named employers of the claim and at the terms and conditions of the three male-dominated comparators. Discussions have included pay, terms and conditions, qualifications, who’s included in the settlement, as well as other things.

Where are things at right now?

Unions and employers are preparing for bargaining. We have bargaining dates set for July, but will keep talking to employers in the meantime.

Before we enter into bargaining, employers are collecting a lot of data and providing lots of information to the funders who fund care and support.

Once the funders (Te Whatu Ora, Whaikaha, etc) have all the information, they need to make some decisions to fund the outcome in principle.

We need this to happen before we can go into bargaining in July, and the good news is that we are on track for this to happen.

How you can get involved

If you’re not yet a union member, we encourage you to join E tū and the fight for pay equity for care and support workers now.

Every day you make a difference for the people you care and support for – it’s time to make a difference for you!

Care and support work is often seen as ‘invisible work’. We need you to tell everyone about what you do, and how important the work you do is for our communities. All care and support workers deserve pay equity!

Along the way we may even need you to fight for things to support a settlement for all care and support workers.

While the current pay equity work is being done by unions, we can only do this with the support of our members.


Will we get a pay rise through the pay equity process this year?

We don’t know. It will depend on how long the bargaining takes, and how long it takes the Government to fund employers to fund the workers of the named employers.

If I don’t work for a named employer, will I get the settlement?

There is the ‘funded framework’ which allows for a settlement to be extended to other care and support workers. It doesn’t say it has to happen at the same time though. We need to lobby for this.

What happens if there is a change of government? Is our pay equity settlement at risk?

Yes, potentially. National and Act have not been overly supportive of the pay equity process. The funded framework for the extension to the whole sector is also at risk, as the framework is not law. It is a policy decision and can be taken away if a new government is voted in.

What will be included in the settlement?

It’s too early to say, but unions will be pursing the best possible settlement that we can get! We expect it to be significant!