The Human Rights Commission has said today’s pay equity settlement is historic and will change the lives of thousands of mainly female, low-paid workers and their families.
Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says the settlement is long-overdue and gives recognition to the hard work and efforts of rest home caregiver Kristine Bartlett and the E tū Union, and the strong advocacy by the Caring Counts Coalition, of which Dr Blue is Chair.
“I would like to congratulate the Government on going beyond just the living wage or pay parity, and making pay equity a reality for thousands of mainly female, low paid, workers in New Zealand. They are providing much needed support to some of our most vulnerable – it’s great to see the Government recognising this and supporting them in return.
“A pay rise of $7 per hour, rising from $16 up to $23 per hour, for more experienced workers, will make a significant difference to the amount they are taking home at the end of their working week, which will have positive flow on effects for their families.
“Kristine Bartlett has been courageous and determined in her journey to see pay equity realised within the aged care sector. It is fantastic to see her efforts recognised and her pay finally reflect the years of service she has provided,” Dr Blue says.
The Commission has been a strong advocate for equal employment opportunities for aged care workers, using its inquiry powers to write and release the Caring Counts Report in May 2012 – one of the key catalysts for Kristine’s case, and the legacy of which resulted in the Government’s recent acceptance of the Joint Working Group’s recommended Principles for Pay Equity.
“I would particularly like to recognise the work of the first EEO Commissioner, Professor Judy McGregor, who continues to be a tireless advocate for pay equity and was the primary driver of the Commission’s original inquiry.
“While the situations of workers in other sectors such as education support still require review, today’s settlement is a significant and important step forward in the journey towards pay equity in New Zealand,” Dr Blue says.