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Pay Equity Announcement Brings Inequality In Pay & Kiwis To Miss Out On Essential Home Cares

While today’s pay equity settlement announcement by the New Zealand Nurses Organisation is significant news for DHB nurses, healthcare assistants and customer service workers, it is extremely disappointing for the dedicated nurses and healthcare assistants with the same skills and expertise who work in the home and community support sector.

New Zealand Health Group Managing Director, Josephine Gagan, said “The decision to pay someone with the same skills significantly more just because they work for the DHB makes absolutely no sense. The impact of this settlement on the New Zealanders who require home-based healthcare will be significant and far-reaching.

“These are some of our most vulnerable Kiwis, many of whom have highly complex support needs that require ongoing specialised in-home care from trained nurses, healthcare assistants, and support workers. As a result of this pay equity settlement, it is these New Zealanders who will miss out on receiving the essential care and support they need to recover and stay well in their own home.

“The complete lack of pay equity and recognition of the skilled work involved in caring for vulnerable New Zealanders who remain in their homes brings inequality in pay and will only exacerbate the serious sector-wide staffing shortages that the home and community support sector is currently experiencing. The reality of this decision is many of our skilled workers are likely to move from working in the community to now work for the DHBs simply because they will be guaranteed more money. This is catastrophic for the home-based care sector which our elderly, those with disability, injury or illness rely so heavily on.

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“It is also completely at odds with the new health system reform which aims to bring healthcare services closer to home and to create a more equitable, accessible, holistic, and people-centred system that improves the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

“Equity is fundamentally important for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand, and regardless of where they work, nurses and healthcare assistants with the same skills, training and expertise should be entitled to the same.

“We have presented a viable, alternative pay equity proposal to the Government and we ask them to urgently consider this.

“Undervaluing the home-based workforce by paying them less will only lead to adverse care outcomes for our vulnerable New Zealanders”, said Ms Gagan.

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