Help Us Fix the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill

Here is some information about the Governments proposed equal pay and pay equity law. Have a look at this resource for more information.

Political Parties on Pay Equality


Can’t find anything in policy statements on their website.


Address pay equity claims through the process established by the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles.


The Green Party believes in pay equity, which means paying the same wage for jobs requiring a similar level of skills, effort, working conditions, training and responsibility.” Includes specific actions to implement pay and employment equity.

New Zealand First

“An ideal industrial relations environment is one based on fairness, flexibility, and neutrality between the parties… New Zealand First will make it a priority to review all industrial relations law to ensure it is consistent with the preceding statement. Employment of New Zealanders wishing to work is our first priority.” Arguably consistent with pay equality.


Nothing on their website about pay equality.

The Gender Pay Imbalance

Information and analysis from Bill Rosenberg, CTU Economist and Policy Director “The gap between the gender pay gaps“.

Join your Regional Hub 

Everyone is welcome to get involved with regional equal pay activities. Please see information about where there are equal pay hubs and who the best person to contact is. You can also email the CTUs Equal Pay Campaign Manager Sue O’Shea on [email protected]

Region Convenor Contact Meeting schedule 
Whangarei Liz Boutet + Odette Shaw [email protected]
Auckland Leonie Morris [email protected]  12:30pm every second Tuesday of the month

@ Auckland  Women’s Centre

Hamilton Megan Morris [email protected]
Palmerston North Lisa Wilde [email protected]
Wellington Liz Tennet [email protected] 12:30pm every first Friday of the month

@ The Council of Trade Unions, level 5, Education House (West Block), 178 Willis Street. Te Aro, Wellington

Nelson Pip Jamieson [email protected]
Christchurch Nancy McShane [email protected]
Dunedin Lucy Grant [email protected]


Equal Pay Cases

Equal pay has been raised in bargaining across a range of occupations and unions.

Claims filed with the Employment Relations Authority

  • The PPTA (Post Primary Teachers Association) has lodged a case with the authority for equal pay (pro-rata non-contact time) for part time teachers. Mediation has occurred and the next step is the authority.
  • E tū and the PSA (Public Service Association) have filed an equal pay claim for mental health support workers.  
  • The PSA filed a claim on behalf of social workers employed by Oranga Tamariki (formerly Child Youth and Family) in 2015. Discussions are ongoing.
  • The PSA also filed a gender pay principles claim against the State Services Commission in 2015. Some of this case was superseded by the agreed Pay Equity principles for predominantly female work. The remainder of the case is currently being dealt with in the unions/SSC Gender Pay Principles working group which is seeking to agree principles for work which is not predominantly female i.e. such issues as parental leave, starting salaries, progression and promotion which contribute to the gender pay gap.
  • NZEI lodged a claim with the authority for education support workers in 2016 and has been negotiating with the Ministry of Education.

Claims in the State Services Commission bargaining process (not yet filed with the Authority)

Other equal pay claims are being raised in bargaining across the public and private sector

Frequently Asked Questions about the Care and Support Settlement

What was the settlement?

This settlement was negotiated by government and unions over 20 months. It applies to approximately 55,000 working people in residential aged care, disability support services and home support services.

From 1 July 2017, existing staff are now paid between $19.00 and $23.50 an hour. Currently these workers earn an average of just over $16.00 an hour, with many on the minimum wage. The settlement features a 5-year set of pay increases linked to experience and qualifications. By July 2021, there will be an entry level pay rate of $21.50 an hour with a top rate of $27.00. The settlement is worth just over $2 billion over five years.

How did we get here?

In 2012, aged care worker and E tū member Kristine Bartlett brought an Equal Pay Act case against her employer, Terranova Homes. She argued she had spent 20 years on very low pay because aged care is largely performed by women. Kristine Bartlett’s case went all the way to the Supreme Court – with Courts agreeing with her that she had been underpaid because of gender discrimination. The case was referred to the Employment Court to set a fair rate for Kristine. Before this happened, the government intervened, asking E tū, the NZNO, the PSA and the CTU to instead work on a negotiated settlement with them to avoid further court action, and extend coverage of the negotiations to include all care and support workers in aged care, disability and home support. The outcome of those talks is the care and support settlement.

The settlement comes after decades of activism in support of equal pay for work of equal value from women’s organisations, community groups and unions, and follows campaigns to raise the profile of the undervalued work that care workers do, such as the Human Rights Commission’s Caring Counts report, the E tū and NZNO Fair Share for Aged Care campaign, the PSA and E tū Up Where We Belong campaign raising the status of disability support work, and the PSA and E tū campaign Time to Care for home support workers.

How does this relate to other equal pay cases?

Each case is different and treated on its own circumstances. A separate process to these negotiations for care and support workers has taken place, called the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles. The group, made up of union, business and government negotiators, came up with principles to guide equal pay negotiations. The Joint Working Group recommended amending the Equal Pay Act to incorporate the principles.

Unfortunately the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill, introduced in August 2017 seeks to replace the Equal Pay Act and will make it more difficult for women workers to make equal pay for work of equal value claims.

A number of other equal pay for work of equal value cases have been lodged with the Employment Court and other equal pay for work of equal value claims have been raised in bargaining.