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Pay deal for care and support workers lifts wages

The impact of the care and support workers’ pay equity settlement was reflected strongly in the September 2017 quarter’s labour market statistics, Stats NZ said today.

The Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017 came into effect on 1 July 2017. It mandated an increase in wages for workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services throughout New Zealand.

In the year to the September 2017 quarter, labour cost index (LCI) salary and wage rates (including overtime) increased 1.9 percent – the highest annual increase since the September 2012 quarter. Wage inflation, as measured by the LCI, reflects changes in the rates employers pay to have the same job done to the same standard.

“The settlement for 55,000 care and support workers was a key driver for the latest quarter’s wage growth,” prices, accommodation, and construction statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “Most carers are women working in private sector health care as community and personal service workers – the areas in which we’re seeing the biggest impact.”

Across both the LCI and the quarterly employment survey (QES), quarterly wage growth came predominantly from the private sector, where the majority of carers are employed. Wages for healthcare workers in the public sector remained flat overall, reflecting continued collective employment agreement negotiations.

Had wages that were affected by the care and support workers’ pay equity settlement remained constant in the September 2017 quarter, LCI wages and salaries would have increased 1.6 percent over the year rather than the 1.9 percent increase.

In the September 2017 quarter, LCI wage rates for the healthcare industry (private and public sectors) rose 2.2 percent. By comparison, wage rates rose 0.4 percent in the previous quarter.

The QES showed similar results. In the September 2017 quarter, average ordinary time hourly earnings rose to $30.45 (up 1.2 percent). A strong contributor to this growth was a rise in average total hourly earnings for those employed in the healthcare and social assistance industry, up $0.58 to $31.35 (up 1.9 percent).

In the latest quarter, wages for women in the healthcare industry rose $0.68 to $29.04 (up 2.4 percent). This was higher than overall wage growth in health care, as the majority of those affected by the carer and support workers’ pay equity settlement were women.

Average ordinary time weekly wages for those employed by businesses in residential care or other social assistance services rose by nearly $40 this quarter, to reach $669.23. 

See also:

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Sean Broughton, Wellington 04 931 4755, info@stats.govt.nz
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 1 November 2017

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