web analytics

Caregivers in equal pay spotlight

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 pm, June 24th, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: employment, equality, health, jobs, poverty, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

An important legal case affecting thousands of low-paid women workers commenced on Monday morning in the Auckland Employment Court.

The case, taken by the Service and Food Workers Union supported by the Nurses Organisation, focuses on long-term caregiver Kristine Bartlett and whether her pay rate of $14.43 an hour is consistent with the Equal Pay Act 1972.

Her employer Terranova Homes and Care Limited says that Kristine and the other 110 female caregivers working in its residential care homes do receive equal pay because they get paid the same as their 6 male caregiver colleagues. The SFWU says it does not.

The Union’s argument is that the Equal Pay Act 1972, which extended the 1960 Government Service Equal Pay Act to the private sector, is designed not just to bring equal pay between male and female pay rates for the same work in the same workplace, but has provisions to apply a broader application.

It is this broader application that must apply for female-intensive occupations such as caregiving as the few male caregivers and their pay rates are largely bound up by the gender segmentation that exists in this sector. In other words, they are treated as “honorary females”.

However, this is not just the union’s view. It is envisaged in section 3(1)(b) of the Equal Pay Act, which says that in female-dominated occupations the Employment Court needs to assess what a male worker would be paid for the same skills, responsibility, service and degree of effort if the gender segmentation did not exist.

The International Labour Organisation has regularly asked the New Zealand Government about the lack of cases to apply pay equity in New Zealand (especially in the private health sector) given the lack of progress on closing the our male-female wage gap.

While the Government has argued that it has a legal framework to deliver pay equity we will see from this Employment Court case whether it it is able to deliver justice for the 30,000 caregivers that it funds.

 

lprent: For those of you who don’t know of him, John Ryall is the national secretary of the Servo’s. He asked for a author login to express his views when he wants to make them known*. Refrain from the traditional and rather repetitive sport of unionist baiting because I’m kind of busy at work at present trying to get away to a holiday in warmer climes. Right now I’m far more inclined to moderate by banning than educating.

* After some difficulty with an obsolete recapture plugin preventing users being added.

20 comments on “Caregivers in equal pay spotlight”

  1. weka 1

    Great to see this case going ahead, and getting some discussion on the standard.

    However, this is not just the union’s view. It is envisaged in section 3(1)(b) of the Equal Pay Act, which says that in female-dominated occupations the Employment Court needs to assess what a male worker would be paid for the same skills, responsibility, service and degree of effort if the gender segmentation did not exist

    How does one go about assessing that? I assume that this has been worked out in other sectors and/or overseas? What is happening in this case? is the union asking for a specific amount?

  2. Daveo 2

    I love that John must have written this after a 30 hour flight from Geneva followed by a full day in court. Do you ever sleep, John?

    • lprent 2.1

      I was having a problem adding a new user (turned out to be a old plugin), so he didn’t have edit access.

      He sent it on Sunday with an embargo until Monday 7pm, so I put it up for him after I got home last night and fixed the login problem.

  3. locus 3

    This is the kind of country we live in.

    – Private elderly-care companies paying their workers $3.70 an hour less than public elderly care workers are paid

    Private elderly-care companies lifting annual profits by 17% to 120m, paying only 9m in tax, and yet dishing out 24c profit per share for their shareholders

    – Private elderly-care companies funded by public sector DHBs, who have no concern that the company they’re contracting pays 20% lower wages for the same work than the public sector

    Do we really want this to continue?

  4. Gosman 4

    Which industry are they comparing themselves to then?

    • lprent 4.1

      Women in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector last year earned $11.63 less on average an hour than men, according to Statistics New Zealand figures

      http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10880051

      • Judith Aitken 4.1.1

        This is an intolerable situation for those workers and all the worse because without their willingness to care for others none of the existing social service organisations and agencies could cope.

        The extremely low pay for carers not only lacks any sense of respect for them – it also demonstrates little compassion or respect for those they look after.

        There is a growing population of dependent, frail and very old people in our community and it is critical – and urgent – that we start rewarding fairly and adequately all those who care for them at home or in institutions. The very old have no voice; those who look after have very litte voice – the rest of us have to champion their just cause.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.2

      Did you see the part of the post that says “the Employment Court needs to assess what a male worker would be paid for the same skills, responsibility, service and degree of effort if the gender segmentation did not exist”?

      So your question should be: “Which industry will the court compare them to then?”

  5. Descendant Of Sssmith 5

    The government(via DHB’s) has previously argued that the funding provided to the private sector for this work is funded at the same hourly rate as the state pays plus some admin.

    It’s the lazy man’s way of increasing productivity by simply dropping wages and the taking of profit that has resulted in the lower wages in the private sector.

    It’s somewhat interesting the the private sector is supposed to be more efficient. More efficient to me says lower overheads and consequently the ability to actually pay the staff higher rates from the same amount of funding.

    It’s amazing how crappy business is in this country.

    A monkey can “lift productivity” by lowering wages.

    Unsure what the current rate is that the DHB funds at but what I would say is that profit when it comes to caring for old people is simply deadweight.

    My daughter worked for Ryman after leaving school and left to clean toilets because she got a $1 something an hour pay increase plus some other perks. There was a big difference between having to deal with patients with dementia, showering and cleaning soiled people with dignity, coping with people with serious illnesses and building relationships with old people who may be dead the next morning when you go to work and cleaning toilets.

    It’s sad that these companies value this work so poorly.

    Seems to me we can lift wages in that sector simply by removing the private sector and taking the work back.

    The thing about the private sector is that it’s demands are insatiable for money and profit and it’s promises are generally full of crap.

    Give us tax cuts we’ll employ more people – you got tax cuts and you didn’t. You simply took more profit. You lied.

    Give us more state jobs and we’ll save money. You took the jobs and you took more profit. You lied.

    Give us your state assets and we save customers money. You took the assets and took more profit. You lied.

    • quartz 5.1

      My wife worked in as a aged care workers years ago. It wasn’t so much the blood shit and tears that she struggled with as the deaths, particularly suicides (the high rate of which is one of the dirty secrets of the aged care industry).

      Paid close to minimum wage for a job where you never know when you’re going to find someone you know and like in the bath with slit wrists or hanging from the door-frame. Fuck that.

    • rosy 5.2

      Thanks DoS – exactly what I think.

    • weka 5.3

      “The government(via DHB’s) has previously argued that the funding provided to the private sector for this work is funded at the same hourly rate as the state pays plus some admin.”

      Not sure how it works for the DHB, but the MoH funding for homehelp and personal cares (showering etc, but not medical) is in the region of $23 – $25/hr. When they give that to the agencies, the workers get paid in that $14/hr bracket. So for every hour that is worked/funded the agencies take approx $10 or around 40%. Someone who knows business can tell me if that makes sense, but it seems very high to me and it’s hard to understand where the money goes. As well as shareholder payouts, I’d be looking at the salaries of the CEOs. In some cases these are big companies, and in the case of the recent contract losses for Presbyterian Support in the Southern DHB area, some of those contracts went to an Australian company.

  6. chas 6

    The Servos as always at the vanguard of fighting against poverty , inequality and ind injustice. Go hard and WIN!

  7. gsays 7

    this seems to me to be a chance of a not for profit business model.
    profits that would be generated are returned in the form of decent wages and conditions.

    because of the classic capatilist business structure if you wanted higher wages for staff then you would have to pay more for mum and dads care.

    for this to occur maybe nationalize the assetes and then return them for use at a local level. (rather than a few, multi national, profit driven companies)

    i am sure there are tertiary educated, brighter minds than me who can describe this better than i have.

    • Arandar 7.1

      Gsays, I agree – except I don’t think we need to nationalise the existing businesses. In fact, I don’t think we should. Let them deal with the consequences of their own business model.

      We simply need to set up ‘in competition’ – isn’t that what the right so admires and encourages? – state of the art accommodation, excellent staff training, qualifications rewarded by excellent wages and conditions.

      We know the state can do this sort of thing very well indeed, and at cost.

      Watch the elderly (a rapidly increasing demographic of which I am one) and their concerned families flock to the residential villages and rest homes where the whole operation is best practice and the funding is transparent.

  8. Rosetinted 8

    ” help reduce the lack of progress on closing our male-female wage gap.”
    Doesn’t this understate the reality? It is my impression that a large majority of female workers are losing parity with men’s pay on the scale that is used for measuring the comparison (apart from those at CEO and upper management level and even then their pay may be hundreds of thousands down on men’s).

  9. Tamati 9

    Aged care companies profiting at the expense of their residents and staff?

    You’re Dreaming!

    http://nz.finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=RYM.NZ#symbol=rym.nz;range=my;compare=;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;

    The share price has increased 100x over the last ten years!

  10. Delia 10

    It is pure exploitation, slave labour and while we are discussing it -it was bought to Helen Clark and Cullen’s attention over and over again and nothing was done. I doubt it will be. The mainly women will not strike and leave their charges (which is what needs to happen nationwide). Being an ex nurse I understand that. However, nothing else has worked. Begging successive govts did not work.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Healthy Homes Bill passes first reading
    Some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children and families are on their way towards safer living conditions with the passing of the first reading of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill in Parliament last night, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Healthy Homes Bill passes first reading
    Some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children and families are on their way towards safer living conditions with the passing of the first reading of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill in Parliament last night, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Wellington Town Belt Bill becomes law
    The Wellington Town Belt will grow by 120 hectares after the passing today of the Wellington Town Belt Bill, Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson says. “The Town Belt is loved by Wellingtonians as a green and open space… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Wellington Town Belt Bill becomes law
    The Wellington Town Belt will grow by 120 hectares after the passing today of the Wellington Town Belt Bill, Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson says. “The Town Belt is loved by Wellingtonians as a green and open space… ...
    16 hours ago
  • 26 weeks paid parental leave the best Mother’s Day present
    If National truly values motherhood, they would drop their threat to scupper 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “As New Zealand prepares to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, John Key should remove his threat to… ...
    17 hours ago
  • 26 weeks paid parental leave the best Mother’s Day present
    If National truly values motherhood, they would drop their threat to scupper 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “As New Zealand prepares to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, John Key should remove his threat to… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Peering through the Huntly coal smokescreen
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    18 hours ago
  • Peering through the Huntly coal smokescreen
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    18 hours ago
  • Burger King dumps caged eggs!
    I’m not a fan of fast food companies, but a few days ago I was thrilled to see fast food multinational Burger King announcing that they are going to dump caged eggs in New Zealand. They join other food companies,… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    20 hours ago
  • Burger King dumps caged eggs!
    I’m not a fan of fast food companies, but a few days ago I was thrilled to see fast food multinational Burger King announcing that they are going to dump caged eggs in New Zealand. They join other food companies,… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    20 hours ago
  • Smoke and Mirrors on Pharmac funding
    Today’s announcement by John Key and Jonathan Coleman on Pharmac funding is a classic piece of financial jiggery-pokery, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “While I welcome any boost to the Pharmac budget this does not go far enough. ...
    22 hours ago
  • Firearms Inquiry calling for submissions.
    Parliament’s Law and Order select committee (of which I am a member) has today called for public submissions to its firearms inquiry. This conversation should have been live since last year, when the Police Association started talking about their concerns… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    23 hours ago
  • Firearms Inquiry calling for submissions.
    Parliament’s Law and Order select committee (of which I am a member) has today called for public submissions to its firearms inquiry. This conversation should have been live since last year, when the Police Association started talking about their concerns… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    23 hours ago
  • National playing politics with children’s lives
    John Key’s Government is playing political games with the lives of children by refusing to support a bill which will ensure every home in the country is warm and dry, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “National says that… ...
    23 hours ago
  • Unemployment rise demands Budget response
    The rise in unemployment shows the Budget must contain concrete plans for job growth that deliver for all New Zealanders, not just the few at the top, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After eight years under National it is… ...
    23 hours ago
  • School funding falls by $150 per student
    Parents are having to fork out even more for their kids’ education after the Government cut school funding per student by $150 in the past year, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “According to the Education Ministry, its total per… ...
    1 day ago
  • School funding falls by $150 per student
    Parents are having to fork out even more for their kids’ education after the Government cut school funding per student by $150 in the past year, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “According to the Education Ministry, its total per… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government must clamp down on dodgy PTEs
    The Government must ensure all international students coming to New Zealand are legitimate after a survey of those approved in Mumbai found only 9 per cent had genuine intentions and met English language requirements, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must clamp down on dodgy PTEs
    The Government must ensure all international students coming to New Zealand are legitimate after a survey of those approved in Mumbai found only 9 per cent had genuine intentions and met English language requirements, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Chance to crack down on foreign speculators
    If John Key is serious about stopping foreign speculators driving house prices out of the reach of Kiwi families, he will support Labour’s Member’s Bill to ban offshore investors from buying existing homes, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “My… ...
    2 days ago
  • IRD had foreign trusts review on action plan
    The IRD was so ready to review foreign trusts it had the review on its action plan in November 2014, just before the Revenue Minister met with John Key’s lawyer, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The IRD… ...
    2 days ago
  • IRD had foreign trusts review on action plan
    The IRD was so ready to review foreign trusts it had the review on its action plan in November 2014, just before the Revenue Minister met with John Key’s lawyer, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The IRD… ...
    2 days ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Māori
    I wrote this blogpost sitting in Parliament listening to the Attorney General’s first reading speech on the Tauranga Moana Iwi Collective Redress and Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Ranganui Claims Settlement Bill. He has acknowledged the impact of colonisation that made… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Rebuilding Christchurch – a lost opportunity?
    In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    3 days ago
  • Rebuilding Christchurch – a lost opportunity?
    In rebuilding Christchurch, the city has a rare chance to build in a sustainable, creative and people-centred way. We can create a city that is so much more than a simple re-construction of buildings and transport links. Christchurch could be… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    3 days ago
  • Minister must ensure 111 issue is fixed
    The Police Minister must ensure the 111 fault is fixed as an urgent priority as a 40 minute wait can be the difference between life and death, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash. “The Police have said the fault lies… ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing
    The National Government has made New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The latest International Monetary Fund report shows New Zealand had the world’s second fastest growth in house prices at the… ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing
    The National Government has made New Zealand a world leader – in unaffordable housing, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The latest International Monetary Fund report shows New Zealand had the world’s second fastest growth in house prices at the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Hospital meals making you sick
    I don’t know about you but I felt a bit sick watching Health Minister Jonathon Coleman eat supposed Dunedin hospital food last week.  Dunedin people have tolerated a crumbling hospital, lower access to services, longer waiting times and gross food… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    3 days ago
  • Hospital meals making you sick
    I don’t know about you but I felt a bit sick watching Health Minister Jonathon Coleman eat supposed Dunedin hospital food last week.  Dunedin people have tolerated a crumbling hospital, lower access to services, longer waiting times and gross food… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    3 days ago
  • Key needs to stop shifting and come clean
    John Key’s position on his lawyer’s offshore trusts lobbying has changed yet again with the Prime Minister admitting he told Todd McClay that Ken Whitney had approached him, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Yet again information has to be… ...
    3 days ago
  • Key needs to stop shifting and come clean
    John Key’s position on his lawyer’s offshore trusts lobbying has changed yet again with the Prime Minister admitting he told Todd McClay that Ken Whitney had approached him, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Yet again information has to be… ...
    3 days ago
  • Revolutionary art in Palmerston North
    Last night I was a judge at the May Day Cup, an annual theatrical event which celebrates International Workers Day. The event was organised by stalwart unionist Dion Martin and included a range of performers competing for the Cup. This year… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Revolutionary art in Palmerston North
    Last night I was a judge at the May Day Cup, an annual theatrical event which celebrates International Workers Day. The event was organised by stalwart unionist Dion Martin and included a range of performers competing for the Cup. This year… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    4 days ago
  • Andrew Little visits Zaatari refugee camp
    Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, has visited the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world, Zaatari in Jordan, a day after seeing New Zealand troops at Camp Taji in Iraq. Mr Little spent several hours in the camp, meeting… ...
    5 days ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    5 days ago
  • Com Com’s Z Energy decision anti-competitive
    The Commerce Commission’s decision to allow Z Energy to buy Caltex can only undermine the competition in the fuel industry that is needed to ensure New Zealanders pay the lowest price for petrol, Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.… ...
    5 days ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • OAG raps Govt over the knuckles on HNZ contracts
    The Government has been rapped over the knuckles by the Auditor General over its failure to properly manage $2.3m of contracts and conflicts of interest in relation to a merchant banker advising them on the state house sell-off, says Labour’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    6 days ago
  • Brownlee must step in as EQC spin exposed
    Gerry Brownlee needs to step in after EQC’s desperate spin in the wake of yesterday’s landmark settlement has been exposed by its own documents, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Yesterday’s settlement showed that thousands of homes may not have… ...
    6 days ago
  • OIO must explain Argentine pollution prosecutions
    The Overseas Investment Office (OIO)has questions to answer about how it safeguarded our sensitive land by allowing foreign investors with criminal prosecutions to purchase Onetai Station in Taranaki, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe.   “Rafael and Federico Grozovsky… ...
    6 days ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    6 days ago
  • Aussie banks in NZ should ban lending to offshore buyers
    ASB, Westpac and ANZ must confirm whether or not they will continue to fund the over-heated property market by lending to non-resident offshore home buyers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This issue has arisen because their parent banks have… ...
    6 days ago
  • Murray McCully needs to come clean over Tokelau ferry debacle
    Foreign Minister Murray McCully needs to come clean on why a New Zealand aid-funded vessel intended to service the Tokelau Islands is delayed, over budget and failed its sea trials, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “The new ship… ...
    6 days ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • Full independent inquiry needed to save New Zealand’s reputation
    Revelations that John Key's personal lawyer and trust advisor led a lobbying campaign to shut down a review of New Zealand's foreign trust regime makes the case for a full scale independent inquiry a matter of urgency, Labour's Finance spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • Andrew Little visits NZ troops in Iraq and refugees in Jordan
    Opposition Leader Andrew Little has visited New Zealand troops at Camp Taji, Iraq. Mr Little also met with Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obedih and senior military officials from the Coalition forces in Iraq. He now heads to Jordan to see… ...
    7 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    7 days ago
  • Workplace death toll still too high
    It’s a damning indictment on the Government that as workers gather to remember their lost workmates on Worker’s Memorial Day, New Zealand’s workplace death toll is still far too high, Labour’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “At… ...
    7 days ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere