Government Must Act to Provide Fair Pay for Care and Support Workers

Disability support providers have reluctantly welcomed a second pay equity claim for around 40,000 care and support workers, says New Zealand Disability Support Network CEO Peter Reynolds.

The claim, lodged by the combined sector unions, covers 167 employers in disability, home and community health, mental health and addictions and aged residential care sectors. It builds on a claim lodged in 2022 covering 15 employers that has stalled because the Government has not approved funding to increase the workers’ pay.

“Disability support providers want to pay our workers more. Female-dominated industries, like care and support, should be paid in line with similar male-dominated jobs. It’s good for our workers and families, and it’s good for employers, because it’ll be easier to attract and retain workers. But disability support providers are government-funded – we don’t have the money to pay more unless the Government ponies up,” says Reynolds.

“This new claim has been lodged due to the reluctance of the Government to settle the original claim and ensure that pay rises are extended to all care and support workers, not just the original 15 employers. We need a comprehensive settlement that treats all providers equally.

“The first care and support worker pay equity claim was presented over 18 months ago and remains stalled. Te Whatu Ora has not secured funding approval from Cabinet and, now, is trying to revisit the previously-agreed pay equity steps carried out according to the legal process.

“An additional claim is costly for employers and providers alike but, given the government’s reluctance to follow its own legal process, we support this effort to ensure all employers in our sector are funded to pay the wage levels our support workers deserve,” says Reynolds.

Peter Reynolds
Chief Executive Officer