In 2017, care and support workers achieved historic pay increases and improvements when, through SFWU( E tū) PSA and NZNO union action, they won their equal pay settlement – as set out in the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Act 2017.
But on 1 July 2022 this law expires along with the settlement. The Minister of Health has indicated the government is willing to enter into talks to renew the legislation.
This is great news and we are pleased to see this commitment, but need to ensure the government prioritises and funds this commitment to the care and support sector
We need the legislation renewed and the rates improved, so that the gains and improvements for more than 60,000 workers are not lost, the sector needs to retain and attract skilled, trained, experienced support workers who provide care and support for some of our most vulnerable. This is urgent so that these essential health workers and services are not put at risk, leaving our elders, disabled and people in the community with mental health issues without the support they need to live with independence and dignity.
Our communities and care and support workers need equal pay to stay. But this requires investment and commitment from the New Zealand Government, before it’s too late.
Union members, community members and supporters: Tell the Minister why Equal Pay Needs to Stay – share your story or message now
Need a few ideas on what to say?
For example, if you’re a care and support worker:
What have the historic pay increases meant for your life or your family’s life?
What can you can afford, or do, that you couldn’t before?
How does it feel to have a career path?
What difference has it made to the people you support/care for in your job?
If you’re a community member:
What difference has the care and support equal pay settlement made for you?
Do you have carers for yourself or your whānau who stay in the sector for longer and give you stability?
Do you have happier and more satisfied care workers that are recognised for what they do?
Is it good knowing your family/whānau is better cared for by a well-trained, skilled workforce with a career path?