New wage structure

Employees began receiving their new wage rates from 1 July 2017.  Generally, all other conditions of employment remained the same. However, service and qualification allowances were extinguished because they were replaced by the new qualifications-based pay structure. Weekend and penal rates remain but those that are calculated as a percentage of base pay are now converted to allowances.

All employees covered by the settlement in the aged and disability residential care and home and community support sectors receive the new wage rates regardless of whether or not they belong to a union.

New wage rates for existing workers (as at 1 July 2017)

On 1 July 2017 all existing care and support workers moved on to the following scale, either at the step that recognised their qualifications or their service with their employer, whichever was the most advantageous to the employee.

Qualification or length of service 1 July 2017
Year 1
1 July 2018
Year 2
1 July 2019
Year 3/4
1 July 2021
Year 5
L0 or <3 years' service $19.00 $19.80 $20.50 $21.50
L2 or 3+ years' service $20.00 $21.00 $21.50 $23.00
L3 or 8+ years' service $21.00 $22.50 $23.00 $25.00
L4 or 12+ years' service $23.50 $24.50 $25.50 $27.00

The qualification must be, or assessed by Careerforce as equivalent to, a Level, 2, 3 or 4 New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing from an NZQA-accredited provider.

View the full and final list of Pay Equity and Qualification Equivalencies. No further qualification equivalency assessment applications are being accepted.

Care and support workers can provide evidence of their qualification in the form of a graduation certificate, and for New Zealand qualifications, also via their New Zealand Record of Achievement (NZ RoA) which is an official transcript all the New Zealand qualifications and standards that a person has achieved as reported by NZQA-accredited education organisations. Authenticity of an ROA can be verified at on the NZQA website.

All care and support workers (as at 30 June 2017) who reach 12 years current continuous service with their employer after 1 July 2017 and who have not achieved a Level 4 Certificate will move on to the following rates unless there are genuine reasons, based on reasonable grounds, that the employee’s employer did not provide the support necessary for the employee to achieve the Level 4 qualification. In which case the employee will be entitled to move to the Level 4 step above. Any dispute about the provision of the necessary support will be dealt with through the normal dispute resolution processes.

After 1 July 2017 On or after 1 July 2018 On or after 1 July 2019 On or after 1 July 2021
$22.50 $23.50 $24.50 $26.00

Current continuous service is considered to be service with the current employer, not the total length of time spent as a care and support worker with previous employers.

Continuous service with the current employer includes any service transferred under the Employment Relations Act 2000 (the Act). In summary, the Act sets out the process for an employer to use where a business is sold, transferred or contracted out and requires employment agreements to contain ‘employee protection provisions’. Specific groups of employees, in certain situations, may transfer to the new employer on their existing terms and conditions, including having any transferred service recognised as continuous service.

New wage rates for new workers

The minimum rates and progression for care and support workers employed after 1 July 2017 are:

Qualification 1 July 2017
Year 1
 1 July 2018
Year 2
1 July 2019
Years 3/4
1 July 2021
Year 5
L0 $19.00 $19.80 $20.50 $21.50
L2 $20.00 $21.00 $21.50 $23.00
L3 $21.00 $22.50 $23.00 $25.00
L4 $23.50 $24.50 $25.50 $27.00

The qualification must be, or assessed by Careerforce as equivalent to, a Level, 2, 3 or 4 New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing from an NZQA-accredited provider.


The pay equity settlement parties agreed to create incentives to help care and support workers gain formal qualifications. The Act now requires employers to provide support to enable workers covered by the settlement to reach the following level on the NZ Qualifications Authority Health and Wellbeing Certificate (or its equivalent) within the following time periods:

  • Level 2 NZ Certificate – within 12 months of employment,
  • Level 3 NZ Certificate – within 3 years of employment,
  • Level 4 NZ Certificate – within 6 years of employment.

Working for Families and tax guidance

Working for Families Tax Credits

The pay increase from 1 July 2017 may have affected payments for Working for Families tax credits. You should check your family income estimate and let Inland Revenue know if it needs to be changed. This will help make sure you get paid the right Working for Families tax credits and avoid an overpayment.

Changes to let Inland Revenue know about include:

  • An increase or decrease in family income,
  • The number of hours you and/or your partner work,
  • Children coming into, or leaving, your care,
  • A partner change.

You can make changes online anytime through myIR Secure Online Services

Or, you can call Inland Revenue on 0800 227 773 , Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm from your landline or mobile phone.

Student loans and KiwiSaver

If your pay increased you may notice your student loan repayments and KiwiSaver contributions changed too. An increase in wages is likely to see the amount deducted increase.
If you have exceeded the threshold of $368 per week for student loan repayment you may see deductions. Please ensure you are using the correct tax code.