New Zealand Law Society - Health Committee supports pay equity bill for support workers

Health Committee supports pay equity bill for support workers

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Parliament’s Health Select Committee has reported on the Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlements Bill and recommends that it be passed with amendments.

The bill amends the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017 (the Act), which formalised a pay equity settlement between the Government and many care and support workers. The amendments incorporate the terms of two later settlements with mental health and addiction support workers and vocational disability workers engaged by Oranga Tamariki and the MSD.

The committee received submissions from 13 groups and individuals and hears evidence from three submitters.

The definition of “employer” in the Act does not currently cover individually funded clients. Under the bill as introduced, care workers employed by individually funded clients may not consistently receive the pay and conditions they are entitled to under the relevant settlement agreement. The committee recommends inserting clause 11A to insert new section 9A to apply to any client who receives funding for mental health services to pay care workers the minimum rates mandated in the settlement agreement and Act. A new clause 2A should be inserted (new Part 2 inserting into Schedule 1 of Act) to require individually funded clients to provide back pay to their workers if they have been paid less than the minimum rates between 1 July 2017 and the enactment of this bill.

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