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Pay equity deal must apply to social workers

SSPA welcomes the landmark pay equity deal for Oranga Tamariki social workers and says it must also apply to social workers contracted by community organisations that deliver services to Oranga Tamariki.

“It is high time the value of social work was recognised and we congratulate the PSA, Oranga Tamariki and the Minister for Children for taking this step. It must also be accompanied by a funding boost that will enable the community organisations contracted by Oranga Tamariki to pay equitable wages to the social workers they employ” says SSPA national manager Brenda Pilott.

“We have advised government ministers and officials repeatedly about the pay gap between community-employed and Oranga Tamariki-employed social workers and have begun discussions about the impact of the pay equity deal.

“With an existing pay gap of around 20% on average, the increase for Oranga Tamariki social workers over 5 years will widen that gap significantly. That will make it hard to employ and to retain experienced social workers to do the challenging work with children and families that Oranga Tamariki needs,” said Brenda Pilott.

Brenda Pilott said she had talked to Oranga Tamariki CEO Gráinne Moss today and was told that the Minister has directed Oranga Tamariki to work with the community sector to report on the potential impact. “That is very welcome news as it shows the Minister has understood that there is a likely impact on services delivered in communities. We have been talking with Oranga Tamariki over the past weeks and look forward to a constructive process ahead.”

“We will be looking for a funding boost in the 2019 budget to enable parity between social workers in these two related sectors of the children’s workforce. This is vital to ensuring all children and families get the support they need,” said Brenda Pilott.

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