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Pay equity principles to be applied early

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/02/2017

Social workers and education, behaviour and communication support workers will be the first in New Zealand to make a claim under new pay equity provisions.

The government is yet to legally cement recommendations made by the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity, accepted last year, but Minister for Women Paula Bennett says they're one step closer to being applied.

The Public Services Association's claim for Ministry of Social Development social workers will be progressed using the new principles, developed to make it easier for women to file a claim with employers rather than go through the courts.

The New Zealand Education Institute will also progress a claim for education, behaviour and communication support workers.

"It's great to see the principles being used in this way and I would like to thank the unions for the pragmatic and collaborative approach they are taking to progressing these claims," Ms Bennett said on Tuesday.

She said their decision would help refine and improve changes to legislation to formally give effect to the principles.

Pay equity legislation is expected to be introduced to parliament this year, Prime Minister Bill English said earlier this month.

PSA said progressing their claim would make a material difference to the lives of social workers and their families, but called on the government to provide extra funding for the salaries of social workers.

NZEI said the decision was a credit to the women who educate and support some of New Zealand's most disadvantaged and vulnerable people.

"In 2017, women are tired of waiting to be paid fairly," president Lynda Stuart said.

The Council of Trade Unions has welcomed the move.

"Applying the principles before they are put into law means that equal pay claims gets a jump-start and that working women who successfully demonstrate that they have a pay equity claim will be able to be paid fairly," CTU President Richard Wagstaff said.

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