Information About Equal Pay

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]


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 paid between $19.00 and $23.50 an hour. From 1 July 2018 the bottom rate rose to $19.80 and the top rate to $24.50. These workers previously earned 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.