About 55,000 low-paid workers, mainly women, are about to get one of the biggest pay rises ever after details of a historic pay equity settlement are revealed today.
The deal will cost the Government over $500 million a year when fully implemented in five years, assuming it is signed off by union members and the Cabinet.
The settlement will mean hefty pay increases from July in three government-funded service sectors that employ mainly women on low rates: aged residential care, home support, and disability services.
The Herald understands that for the primary litigant, rest home caregiver Kristine Bartlett, it will mean an increase from about $16 an hour to about $23 an hour – more than 43 per cent.
The deal allows for annual increases over five years to $27 an hour.
Overall, pay rises will range from $3 an hour to $7, depending on the work and experience.
The statutory minimum wage at present is $15.75 an hour. The new pay rates will not be backdated.
The case is the first legal settlement in New Zealand that recognises that some jobs pay less because they are done mainly by women.