Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


MERAS Lodges Pay Equity Claim

19 June 2018

MERAS Lodges Pay Equity Claim on Behalf of DHB-Employed Midwives

The union that represents the majority of employed midwives (DHB midwives) has lodged a pay equity claim with DHBs.

Jill Ovens, MERAS Co-leader (Industrial), says the MERAS claim is on behalf of hospital-based midwives, who are paid in a completely different way to self-employed midwives (Lead Maternity Carers or LMCs).

Although there was some money set aside in the Government’s Budget to increase payments for LMCs (self-employed, community based) in response to the New Zealand College of Midwives’ case for pay equity, this did not relate to DHB-employed midwives, whose pay is linked to that of nurses.

“In our MERAS pay equity case, we argue that including midwifery in nursing wage settlements through successive negotiations with DHBs, has negatively affected midwives’ pay,” says Ms Ovens.

“Pay equity for employed midwives needs to be considered independently to that of nurses as there are significant differences between the two professional groups in regard to undergraduate qualifications, training programme requirements and scope of practice.”

For a number of years before legislative change in 1990, women from consumer advocacy groups were voicing concerns about the impersonal, fragmented and hospital-controlled maternity care provided to expectant mothers in New Zealand.
Their calls for change, and the establishment in 1989 of the New Zealand College of Midwives, were a major influence in the enactment of the Nurses Amendment Act 1990, providing statutory recognition for midwives as “safe and competent practitioners in their own right.”

In addition, midwives were given the statutory right to prescribe drugs, order diagnostic tests, and train without prior nursing qualifications.

Caroline Conroy, MERAS co-leader (Midwifery), says the midwifery profession today is largely self-regulated through the Midwifery Council and practitioners enjoy a wide jurisdiction to make professional judgements on their own responsibility.

However, despite all these changes DHB-employed midwives continue to be paid on the same pay scales as nurses, which fails to recognise the scope of practice and responsibilities that midwives have in their day to day work.

“Employed midwives work in primary, secondary and tertiary maternity units. They work closely with their LMC colleagues, complementing and supporting the care that they provide to women and families through a range of hospital and community-based roles,” she says.

Ms Ovens says the linking of employed midwives’ pay scales to those of nurses fails to take into account the differences in qualifications and training required to do the job and maintain their standard of care and scope of practice.

“The current wage setting ignores differences in the nature of the work, the responsibilities associated with the work, the conditions under which the work is performed, and the emotional and physical demands of midwifery,” she says.

“For example, nursing is a three-year degree; midwifery is a four-year degree with quite different on-going professional requirements.”

Ms Ovens say MERAS is keen to progress discussions on its pay equity claim now that it has been lodged.

“This provides employed midwives with the opportunity to get the recognition they deserve,” she says.

MERAS is affiliated with the New Zealand College of Midwives and the two will work closely together on the pay equity claim.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>


Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>


Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>


Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>


Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>




InfoPages News Channels