It Is About Time Nurses And Other Healthcare Workers In The Aged Care Sector Got Pay Parity
The Grey Power Federation has given a qualified welcome to the Government’s new $200 million fund for non-hospital healthcare workers.
Federation president Jan Pentecost said the salaries of nurses in aged care facilities should never have been allowed to fall so far behind their peers in hospitals that it needed a special fund to finally treat them fairly.
“Of course, we welcome the announcement but we, along with the Aged Care Association and the NZ Nurses Organisation have been pleading with the government for quite some time now to give proper recognition to those nurses who work in aged care. The wage gap between hospital nurses and aged care nurses currently ranges from 10 percent to 25 percent in some cases but now aged care nurses will finally be paid at rates similar to nurses employed by Health New Zealand.”
The new pay rates are expected to be introduced early next year.
While Health Minister Andrew Little said taking action on pay parity for healthcare workers was the "right thing to do" Pentecost said it had always been the right thing to do but it was not right to have delayed this decision for so long and Grey Power now also looks forward to a positive outcome from the pay-equity agreement negotiations with home care and community support workers as well.
“We have known for some time our public health system was in trouble and struggling to retain professional staff but it was simply unfair to treat those who are dedicated to looking after our frail elderly people so poorly. We hope this will go some way to recruiting and retaining these essential people. After all older people matter too.”