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Govt making it harder to recruit for state sector

February 19, 2009
For Immediate Use
Govt making it harder to recruit and retain skilled staff in state sector

“The government’s state sector pay expectations released today will make it harder to address shortages of public service workers such as probation officers and social workers,” says PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

The Auditor-General this week stated that the Corrections Department “has around 10% fewer probation officers than it needs to manage offenders in keeping with parole requirements.”

“There’s an urgent need to recruit and retain more probation officers,” says Richard Wagstaff.
“To do this, Corrections needs to be able to provide the pay and working conditions that will attract people to do this difficult and demanding work.”

“The parameters in the state sector pay expectation document will make this extremely difficult to achieve,” says Richard Wagstaff

He says the situation will be even worse for Child Youth and Family struggling with a shortage of social workers.

The government has today pulled the plug on a programme aimed at addressing a pay gap affecting social workers at Child Youth and Family.

A pay and employment equity review has revealed that men employed at Child Youth and Family are paid on average 9.5% more than their women colleagues. The review has shown that this is primarily due to the fact that 80 per cent of CYF social workers are women.

“We’re disappointed that the government has today axed a pay investigation aimed at closing this pay gap,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott. “This is a slap in the face for social workers. They do a difficult and demanding job and are underpaid for the essential work they do.”

“We need to pay social workers a salary that reflects the skills, knowledge and level of responsibility involved in doing work that involves trying to ensure the safety of children in vulnerable situations,” says Brenda Pilott.

The government has also today revoked an initiative aimed at helping government departments to recruit and retain the skilled staff needed to keep improving our public services.

“The government has broken an agreement that all government departments would provide common leave provisions to their staff from the start of July,” says Richard Wagstaff. “This deals a major blow to the goal of having fair and consistent employment provisions across all government departments.”

“Having these common provisions would have meant an efficiency gain for the public service,” says Richard Wagstaff. “That’s because each department wouldn’t have had to spend time and effort negotiating these leave provisions.”

“But their main benefit would have been helping the government departments recruit and retain the staff they need to continue improving the delivery of public services.’’ “Having fair, consistent and attractive leave provisions was aimed at encouraging experienced and skilled staff to stay in the public service.”

The common leave provisions covered annual leave; leave to cover sickness and caring for dependents; bereavement and tangihanga leave; parental leave; study leave; employment relations leave; volunteer service leave; and unpaid discretionary leave. They were developed by the previous government, the State Services Commission and the PSA. It was agreed that all government departments were to have included them in their collective employment agreements from July 1.


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