Te Whatu Ora is asking the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) for interim orders to fix pay equity rates that would increase pay for most nurses by more than 14%.
Chief Executive Margie Apa says Te Whatu Ora has already agreed in principle to the higher rates and nurses shouldn’t have to wait for the outcome of a complex legal challenge brought by their unions.
“We spent three years with nurses and their representatives working through a pay equity claim that established sex-based undervaluation – in December 2021 we had an Agreement in Principle that would have given around three-quarters of our nursing workforce pay rises of 14% or more.
“In April this year, the unions opted out of the agreement and chose legal action to fix the rates.
“The ERA has been clear that this process is going to take time and we don’t think nurses should wait any longer for something we all agree is the right thing to do.”
Ms Apa says the ERA has been asked for an interim order so Te Whatu Ora can:
- pay the pay equity rates at the level of the Agreement in Principle
- make the effective date for the increased rates to be the date originally agreed – 7 March 2022
- pay a lump sum payment of $3,000, which is in addition to $7,000 pay equity lump sums already paid to nurses in 2021.
“If Te Whatu Ora is successful in getting the interim order, we would be able to apply the pay equity rates while the ERA works through its process to fix the rates.
“Paying out these rates would address a legitimate claim for a key part of the health workforce that has been undervalued for too long.”
Ms Apa says if the Te Whatu Ora application is successful, we would make this a priority and aim to have it in place early in the first quarter of 2023.