Mental Health support workers to lodge equal pay claim

The PSA and E Tū unions will lodge an equal pay claim on behalf of mental health support workers with the Employment Relations Authority today.

Care and support workers in aged care, disability care and home support are set to receive a pay increase from the 1st of July.

The pay boost is the result of the care and support Equal Pay settlement which will benefit up to 55,000 workers across the sector.

The settlement lifts care and support workers’ pay to between $19.00 and $23.50 from 1 July, rising to between $21.50 and $27.00 in July 2021.

However, mental health support workers are not included in the settlement.

PSA claimant and mental health committee member Pollyanna Alo says, “It’s completely unfair that mental health support workers receive unequal pay and are undervalued just because we work in a traditionally female-dominated industry.”

E Tū member and claimant, Vicki Harmon says from 1 July, mental health support workers will be working alongside people who will be paid more and it’s causing turmoil.

“People are leaving mental health services in droves and who wouldn’t? We’ve had so many people leave our organisation for other disability providers and we’re exhausted doing the extra work. It’s a struggle to fill the rosters and everyone is knackered.”

E Tū Assistant National Secretary John Ryall says the government needs to support the claim and move swiftly to avert the impending crisis.

“We are seeking urgency from the Authority in hearing this claim because the 1 July pay increases for other support workers will cause a crisis for the community mental health workforce"