December 11, 2023

Govt announces ‘historic’ pay equity offer for Te Whatu Ora nurses

Related video: Minister Verrall speaks to media after the Government adds 830 more clinical placements for student nurses in a bid to combat the shortage.

The Government has announced a pay equity offer, which would see Te Whatu Ora nurses receive a bump in their pay.

Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced on Monday morning the Government has added $1.5 billion to an interim pay equity settlement which, if accepted, will see nurses employed by Te Whatu Ora receive additional increases to pay rates and a $15,000 lump sum payment to address backpay issues.

Senior nurses will earn between $105,704 and $153,060 per annum full-time, plus penal rates, while registered nurses will earn between $69,566 and $99,630 per annum full-time, plus penal rates. 

There are currently more than 30,000 nurses employed by Te Whatu Ora who will soon vote on a pay equity rate and backpay offer following an agreement on the proposed terms of a settlement reached between Te Whatu Ora, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), and the Public Service Association (PSA). 

“I’m so pleased the NZNO and PSA leadership have reached this historic agreement with Te Whatu Ora to ensure the predominantly female nursing workforce finally receive the pay they deserve,” Dr Verrall said. 

“If agreed, the payment will mean nurses receive two pay rises in nine months – the first being the interim 14 percent interim pay equity adjustments paid in April this year. This deal brings the total value of the pay equity settlement to $4 billion.”

Since the Government came into power in 2017, a new graduate nurse’s starting salary has gone up by 40.7 percent. A salary for registered nurses at the top of their scale has risen by 49.2 percent when you add together the pay equity increases and collective bargaining increases, according to Dr Verrall. 

“I want to recognise the challenge to get to this point. The past few years have seen nurses and our whole health workforce come under enormous pressure due to COVID,” Dr Verrall said.

“But the Government’s commitment to our nursing workforce does not end with pay equity, we’re focused on what more we can do to ease the pressure on nurses.” 

It comes after the Government announced an additional 830 nurses would be trained as part of the ongoing efforts to stabilise the workforce.

The Government also announced an eight percent pay boost for GP and community nurses. 

“This Government places great importance on the contribution nurses make to the health system and the critical role they have in caring for the health needs of our whānau and communities,” Dr Verrall said.

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