The disability support sector is calling on the incoming government to commit to funding pay equity for the 65,000 workers who care for disabled, elderly, and other New Zealanders, says New Zealand Disability Support Network CEO Peter Reynolds.
“Disability support workers want to pay our workers a fair wage, but we are wholly dependent on government funding to do this. We support the pay equity process, which would mean better pay for our workers and ease the sector’s serious workforce shortages,” says Mr Reynolds.
“Employers and unions are standing shoulder to shoulder on this issue, but the government and Te Whatu Ora have been dragging their feet, as we approach the expiry date for the pay equity legislation on 31 December 2023.
“The previous government did not formally allocate the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be needed to make a settlement. Until that funding is allocated, the pay equity process is stuck. Additionally, Te Whatu Ora is now illegally attempting to review previously agreed steps in the pay equity process.
“We call on the incoming government to confirm it backs pay equity and will fully fund the money needed to give support and care workers the pay they are entitled to.
If the government does not step up, we are likely to see court action to determine pay rates. Providers without adequate funding will have to either cut services to make ends meet or close down entirely, reducing the care and support available to our disabled and elderly New Zealanders.
” Funding pay equity must be a top priority for the incoming government, and we urgently need their commitment to provide the money,” says Mr Reynolds.