Government announces equal pay deal for mental health workers

Health Minister David Clark.
Health Minister David Clark. Photo credit: Newshub.

The Government has announced an equal pay deal for 3800 mental health workers.

It follows the landmark Care and Support Workers pay settlement of last year, in which Kristine Bartlett battled for five years for equal pay, even taking the case to the Supreme Court.

That settlement meant about 55,000 care workers will receive significant pay increases totalling about $2 billion.

Mental health workers are the next cab off the rank, and they’ve been in negotiations since the beginning of the year.

"Today, we are correcting a problem created by the previous Government, which failed to make the settlement broad enough to include mental health and addiction workers. We are doing the right thing by these workers," Dr Clark said.

Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter said it's part of a process of valuing women's work.

"A woman shouldn’t be paid less just because she is working in a female dominated industry," Ms Genter said.

"As Minister for Women I am committed to addressing pay equity for New Zealand women and ensuring women's needs are better represented."

The Ministry of Health will now begin formal negotiations with unions and employers.