Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Historic pay equity action for social workers

The Government has today agreed to address a long-standing pay gap for community social workers, announcing a boost to the wages of almost 500 employees.

The pay equity claim means people working for organisations such as iwi social services, kaupapa Māori services and NGOs who perform social work tasks out in the community will receive a pay rise, said Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis.

“This social work pay equity claim is an important first step towards addressing the significant gender pay gap for social workers and others who carry out substantially similar work,” Mr Davis said.

“These people do hard mahi everyday out in the community and I am pleased to be able to help boost wages to a more appropriate level.”

The agreement will include $80.56 million over five years for remuneration and indirect costs of settling the claim, with the average full-time worker to receive an increase between $20,000-30,000 on top of their annual salary.

Careful management of the economy throughout Covid has left New Zealand in a comparatively strong position despite economic headwinds and able to invest in important matters such as this that directly benefit workers, the Minister said.

By addressing pay inequity, there is flexibility for people in social work type roles to be able to easily move between the statutory sector and the NGO social services sector without having to take a salary cut, he said.

“This is fantastic news for our members which will make a real difference to their lives particularly at a time of big challenges to household budgets,” said National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi, Kerry Davies.

An average full-time worker will receive an increase between $20,000 – 30,000 on top of their annual salary.

She said the settlement covers social workers for Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services, Wellington Sexual Abuse Help, Christchurch Methodist Mission, Stand Tu Maia & Barnardos and marks the end a three-year-long process.

“This is a long overdue recognition of the important role social workers perform. For the first time their pay will properly value the work they do in helping to build a better future for the tamariki, rangatahi and whānau they support.”

“It will go a long way to retaining social workers in this critical sector. We now call on the Government to extend this settlement to the rest of the NGO sector so more workers can be paid fairly.

“Our members are overjoyed with this result particularly for so many who are struggling to get by,” said Ms Davies.

Latest Articles