Pictured: Hon Michael Wood, Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety; Josephine Gagan, Group Chief Executive of New Zealand Health Group
Today it was our pleasure to welcome the Hon Michael Wood, Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety, to our premises for his landmark announcement on Fair Pay Agreement legislation.
Likewise, the New Zealand Health Group welcomes the news of Fair Pay Agreements, and a commitment of increased investment by this Government.
We take great pride in the positive relationships we have with our unions, and I assure you that our Group’s operating entities – Geneva Healthcare and HealthCare New Zealand, will be on the front foot and leading the way to negotiate a Fair Pay Agreement for the home and community health sector.
As always, we are ready to work with the unions and the Ministry on fairly compensating our staff who do the tough work in our industry.
In the decades since we started contracting out essential public sector healthcare and support services, our population in Aotearoa has grown significantly; and it has aged significantly too. Our services are needed now more than ever, and that need is only going to increase from here on.
These realities, combined with addressing the COVID pandemic, have shown us that cooperation across the sector is crucial to finding, training and keeping the committed Home & Community Support workers and services needed to address longstanding inequities in health outcomes, especially for Maori and Pasifika communities.
Under the previous government, the Pay Equity Legislation was introduced and welcomed by employers. It was an important shot in the arm for the sector and it boosted morale – however, it has never been adequately funded, to the point where many of our DHB contracts have now become unsustainable.
We think a Fair Pay Agreement will work well with the implementation of the recently announced Health NZ and Māori Health Authority centralised contracting model, providing realistic, sustainable funding for a sector that is truly essential to our society and economy.
We must be able to provide our staff with good jobs, good conditions, and good training along with regular hours of work. This can only be done by having consistent standards across the industry, and, if I may be so bold, consistent, sustainable funding to make sure these essential workers are fairly remunerated.
It will take all three parties working in good faith – the providers, the unions and the Government – to make Fair Pay agreements a reality at last.
It fills us with a renewed optimism to hear both Minister Little’s ambitions for collaboration in service development and greater health equity, and this announcement of increased investment in Home & Community Support Services.
As head of the largest overall provider of Home & Community Support Services, I look forward to working with the Ministry, other providers and our unions on setting up the first Fair Pay Agreement for the sector and the country, and being able to implement this positive commitment for our workforce.
About New Zealand Health Group
New Zealand Health Group (NZHG) is the country’s largest provider of Home and Community services, rehabilitation and behavioural support, health staffing and training. Through its companies, Geneva Healthcare, HealthCare New Zealand, Solora, NZ Care and Explore, it provides healthcare services to over 30,000 New Zealanders and employs over 12,000 caregiving, nursing and other health professional staff.
Having operated in the sector for over 30 years, the company has built up an enviable reputation for relentlessly pursuing better techniques and systems to be able to provide the very best of care and support for those New Zealanders who need help to live in their own homes as independently as possible.