Te Whatu Ora has started planning to process pay rises rates for its nursing workforce after the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) made an interim order to fix interim pay equity rates for about 30 thousand nurses.

“This is a fantastic outcome,” says Chief Executive, Fepulea'i Margie Apa. “The pay equity rates will increase pay for most nurses by more than 14%.

“In addition, there will be a lump sum payment and the rates will be effective from 7 March 2022.

“Te Whatu Ora had agreed to pay these rates last year after an agreement in principle with the nursing unions, but it was put on hold when the unions initiated a legal challenge.

“When it became apparent the legal challenge would be long and complex, we decided to look for ways we could apply the pay equity rates we’d already agreed. That was what we asked the ERA.

Ms Apa is grateful for the ERA’s prompt decision and says Te Whatu Ora payroll teams have already met and started planning to implement the interim rates.

“We are working with the Government on the next steps to make funds available. Coordinating more than 20 different payroll systems is a complex task, but we’re pulling out all stops and putting extra people on so the new rates can be paid as soon as possible.

“In the first quarter next year our nurses will be on par dollar for dollar with their Australian counterparts, with the biggest increases where there is the biggest undervaluation.

“What really pleases me is that we’re addressing a legitimate claim from a key part of the health workforce that has been undervalued for too long.

“The unions’ legal challenge is not affected by today’s decisions, but that’s too long to wait when we’ve already agreed to these pay equity rates,” says Ms Apa.