A pay equity agreement for district health board administration and clerical staff has finally been reached.
It means thousands of employees at New Zealand's 20 DHBs who work in the admin and clerical sectors will get pay increases of up to 40 percent.
Yearly salaries will rise by up to $19,600.
"Over 90 percent of the people in these key administration and clerical roles are women and their work has been historically undervalued - this settlement puts it right," DHB spokesperson Jim Green said.
Public Service Association (PSA) national secretary Kerry Davies said the milestone would change lives.
She said the settlement was a historical one.
"PSA has been fighting for equal pay for work of equal value for women workers since 1913. The equal pay settlement for administration and clerical workers in DHBs is another step in a long journey."
Union delegate Nancy Mc Shane said the settlement "literally brought tears to my eyes".
"Settlement of this equal pay claim is another important step towards true equality for all women in Aotearoa and will be profoundly transformational in the lives of my DHB admin colleagues."
The agreement sees South Island ward clerk salaries increase from $48,740 to $68,340, Auckland clinical coders from $51,753 to $69,340 and North Island health records clerks from $50,840 to $57,630.
"The settlement provides something this group has never had before - consistent national pay rates as part of a job banding structure," Green said. "The union has worked in partnership with the DHBs to reach this outcome, which will have a substantial impact on lifting the pay of a low-paid, female-dominated workforce.
"It has been a long time in the making and I want to congratulate those who've worked long and hard to get us to this point. It would not have been possible without the commitment and goodwill of all those involved, including the Government's support for addressing this issue."