Saturday, April 13, 2024

Historic pay bump kicks in for NZ nurses

Nurses have received an historic bump in pay, with interim equity payments being completed across the country, Minister of Health Ayesha Verrall said today.

“This Government said it would deliver pay equity for nurses, and I’m delighted to be able to acknowledge this,” Dr Verrall said.

“Today, backdated interim payments were completed across the Auckland region, meaning nurses throughout the country have received a much-deserved pay boost.

“This provides salaries competitive with Australia and reinforces this Government’s commitment to improving pay, at a time when we’re taking additional action around the cost of living, and reducing economic pressures on ordinary Kiwis.”

How much extra each nurse receives in the payments depends on their current rates, but a large proportion of registered nurses are receiving an increase in base pay of around $12,000 (14%), the Minister said.

“After years of falling behind, these payments recognise the significance and importance of a group that has been historically undervalued based on gender.”

In March 2022, former district health boards reached agreement in principle on a pay equity deal worth $540 million. 

“I recognise that the pay equity process is complex and technical,” Dr Verrall said.  

“Although further litigation has arisen, it was sensible that the Employment Relations Authority allowed Te Whatu Ora the ability to make interim pay equity payments while awaiting a final result.

“This means nurses are able to have that extra money in their pockets right now.  I continue to urge the parties to resolve the outstanding issues by agreement.

“I also want to reinforce that in addition to the pay equity claim for Te Whatu Ora employed-nurses, the Government has committed $200 million a year for the nursing workforce in areas such as aged-care facilities, hospices, Māori and Pacific health care organisations. Those payments will begin rolling out from April this year.

“A pay equity agreement has also already been reached with administration and clerical workers employed by Te Whatu Ora. Separate processes are currently underway with midwives and allied, public health and technical staff.

“I acknowledge there’s a way to go yet. But on March 8 – International Women’s Day – and in a female dominated workforce, I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share this moment with our nurses,” said Dr Verrall.

Under the new pay deal, newly qualified registered nurses will start work in a public hospital on $66,570 a year before overtime and allowances, and experienced nurses will be on a basic pay rate of up to $95,340 before overtime and allowances.

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