Health Minister Andrew Little says tens of thousands of community health workers will receive a pay rise as a result of a new package intended to address pay equity in the sector.
In a statement, Little said the announcement would benefit health organizations in Te Whattu Ora who struggle to pay as much as their public sector counterparts.
He said aged care facilities, hospices, home care support and Maori and Pacific health care organizations would receive new funding first because there was a significant pay gap with the public sector.
“Today’s announcement is good news for the estimated 20,000 who will receive a pay rise and the organizations that employ them, who have struggled to keep staff when they are unable to pay as much as Te Whattu Ora is offering,” he said.
“I know this has made it very difficult for them to retain nurses.”
Forty million dollars will be available for the rest of this fiscal year, with $200 million a year, according to the government.
But Little added that that could change in the future if “evidence of inequality emerges”, but that the changes would not be “immediate for those working in GP practices”.
“Decisions about who gets paid have to be based on hard evidence, and the data I’ve been given by the nursing organization and the GenPro GP organization for that sector doesn’t show any real evidence of pay difference at the moment.”
Last week, GenPro launched a campaign to lobby the government over “soul-destroying” working conditions for family doctors.
Its nine-point set of recommendations included a proposal to achieve pay parity for nurses in general practice — which the organization said would pay $8,000 less than hospital-based nurses.
New government funding will go to private and non-government employers through changes to their contracts with Te Whattu Ora and the Maori Health Authority.
“I expect these contract changes to happen in the first part of next year, followed by mental health and addiction facilities, disability care organizations and other types of residential care, and then other government-funded health services.”
Little says employers will have to put up the money to close the pay gap between them and public hospitals.
“We are also negotiating pay-equity agreements with midwives, allied health workers and home care and support workers, raising the pay of nurses working for Te Whatu Ora by an average of 20% and setting aside $540 million a year in pay equity. has been. Reconcile them,” the minister said.
“In our observation, I am pleased that 10,000 public hospital administrative and clerical workers received a historic pay share deal this year.
Speaking with Breakfast this morning, Little said the increase would initially be aimed at aged residential care workers, where the gap is greatest.
He said the response from the healthcare sector has been “good” even though doctors are a bit disappointed.
“I think the issue the industry is telling me is that especially with the current level of disparity, a lot of registered nurses and health assistants in the community sector are being pulled away from the hospital sector.
“We need that community sector, we need those beds in aged residential care, they’re part of the health system and we need as many staff as possible.”
Little said this morning’s announcement will make a “significant” difference, retaining those already in the field as well as attracting more people to community health care roles.