Aged care: Pay parity with DHBs

October 1, 2020

Achieving or maintaining pay parity with district health board (DHB) staff is a key claim across all NZNO’s current round of negotiations with major aged-care chains.

Negotiations with Bupa, Oceania, Heritage LifeCare and Radius are underway, and negotiations with Summerset begin next month.


Funding increase

Lesley Harry
Aged-care industrial adviser Lesley Harry.

Aged-care industrial adviser Lesley Harry said the sector had received a three per cent funding increase this year. NZNO expected this would be passed on to staff, along with any pay increase secured in the current DHB multi-employer collective agreement negotiations.


Other claims across all providers include improved sick leave and a payment to health-care assistants (HCAs). Harry said the care and support workers equal pay settlement did not provide for a pay increase this year. “These workers deserve some recognition this year, particularly because of the impact of COVID-19 on their workload and their lives.”

NZNO, through bargaining, is also reviewing how the care and support workers settlement is working.

“We have heard of some instances where there have been barriers to caregivers being able to move up the pay scale, which is based on achieving qualifications. We want to find out if this is the case,” Harry said.


The care and support workers settlement, which provided a major boost to HCAs’ hourly rates, also introduced a four-step pay scale, with progression based on gaining qualifications.

NZNO Bupa advocate Lynda Boyd said there had been three lots of negotiations so far, with more scheduled in the coming month. One of the sticking points was addressing the low pay rates of household staff, who were members of E tū.