CEO of New Zealand Health Group, Josephine Gagan has expressed her concerns about achieving pay parity for all healthcare workers following the Employment Relations Authority’s interim order to fix pay equity.
“While the 14% increase is significant for the 30,000 nurses employed by Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, if the Government is committed to fulfilling its promise to bring pay parity to the entire health sector, we hope it will apply to all nurses, regardless of where they work,” said Ms Gagan.
“This will require confirmation that the 14% increase in pay will be considered in the pay parity funding package announced by the Government last month.
“Pay parity recognises that irrespective of the employer, nurses and healthcare workers should be paid fairly and receive parity with others doing the same or similar work. In practice, this means all nurses, irrespective of whom they are employed by or whom they care for, should receive the same level of pay.
“Our community nurses care for some of our most vulnerable Kiwis, many of whom have highly complex support needs that require ongoing specialised in-home care. Unless pay parity is achieved, 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.
“Importantly, the Government’s announcement identified the need to address the pay rates of health workers who are not employed by Te Whatu Ora. However, we remain concerned that without the required funding to achieve pay parity, many of our skilled nurses will move from working in the community to now work for Te Whatu Ora simply because they will be guaranteed more money.
“This would be catastrophic for the home and community care sector, which our elderly, those with a disability, injury or illness heavily rely on. 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.
“In his announcement about pay parity, the Health Minister said it’s the right thing to do. We look forward to receiving confirmation from the Government that the funding package will take into account this latest pay increase.
“If we undervalue our home and community nurses by paying them less, this will only lead to adverse care outcomes for our vulnerable New Zealanders”, said Ms Gagan.