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Living wage needed to address pay inequity

PSA Media Release Header

30th August - For Immediate Release

Living wage needed to address pay inequity

The Public Service Association says a living wage would go some way towards addressing the historical pay inequity facing thousands of women workers who provide support to the elderly and disabled.

The PSA is backing calls for a living wage so that workers, such as aged care and disability support workers can be paid enough to actually live on rather than just surviving on the bare minimum.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff says these workers are almost all women who support some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

“Their historically low wages reflect the pay gap between men and women. They are also at the sharp end of the widening gap between rich and poor and the drop in real terms of household incomes.”

“These workers are committed to providing high levels of professional care that the elderly and disabled deserve. They should be paid for the skills, complexity and responsibility of the work they do. Instead they continue to pay the price for years of government underfunding and failure to take meaningful action around the growing pay and inequality gap.”

Earlier this year the government responded to a Human Rights Commission report by saying it cannot afford to properly fund what is a chronically underfunded sector and bring pay rates up.

Mr Wagstaff says ironically it can afford to give high income earners millions of dollars in tax cuts.

“It’s about choices and priorities and providing a living wage for low paid workers would be a first step in trying to tip the balance back in the right direction.”

The PSA will be taking part in today’s launch of the Living Wage campaign launch in Wellington.


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