New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) chief executive SIMON WALLACE provides clarity around the Association’s role and stance on the pay equity settlement process.

The NZACA was a cooperative player during the two years of the Equal Pay talks providing input and attending meetings as required.

This input included information and data from the whole industry, including NZACA, CANZ members and providers belonging to neither Association.

This was never a negotiation.  The negotiation was between the Government and the unions – the unions won the Court Case.

The NZACA is not a party to the settlement, again this is between the Government and unions.  We didn’t actually agree or were asked to agree to anything, but if the matter had been left to the Courts to decide, the result would have been ‘catastrophic’ for the industry.

We didn’t know the final details of the settlement until the Government’s announcement on 18 April.

We advocated all the way along for nurses to be part of the settlement, but the Government ruled them out of scope.  We explained what the impact would be for nurses and other workers in  our members’ businesses.

We advocated for mental health support workers to be included, but they were ruled them out of scope.

We advocated for recognition of accrued leave and are hopeful the Government will make an announcement this week on leave.

The NZACA lodged a strong submission to the Select Committee and appeared in person in support of affected members and explained the consequences.

Our focus is now on supporting our members as best we can, with the priority being on how to get impacted members through the next 6 to 12 months and so give them time to make adjustments.  The implementation timeframe is unreasonable.

We negotiated the best increase to the ARRC in four years on top of the Equal Pay Settlement, and we have got relief for ambulance costs that are a huge impost for many of our smaller and rural members.

At the end of the day, we all wanted caregivers to be paid more, but that is now coming at the expense of people closing the doors, and none of us want that, the NZACA, the unions and the Government included.

We want to work with CANZ, the DHBs, the Ministry and others on practical solutions to help people through this.

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