Social workers contracted by Oranga Tamariki need to be included in pay equity deal – Women’s Refuge

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Women’s Refuge congratulates Oranga Tamariki for their milestone pay equity deal for social workers, however voice concerns about the extension of this deal to social workers contracted by Oranga Tamariki.

“This is a fantastic move by Oranga Tamariki and the Minister for Children, and recognises the need for improved pay and working conditions for Oranga Tamariki social workers in order to support their workers adequately,” says Women’s Refuge Chief executive Dr Ang Jury.

The settlement, which has yet to be ratified by Oranga Tamariki social workers, recognises that the role of a social worker in Oranga Tamariki has been subject to historical and ongoing gender-based undervaluation. Once fully implemented, the pay equity settlement would see an average lift in Oranga Tamariki social worker salaries of 30.6% across a two year period. The next step is for Oranga Tamariki social workers, who are PSA members, to vote on whether to accept the pay equity settlement, at a series of internal meetings held across New Zealand.

There is currently an existing pay gap of 20% on average between contracted and employees, and the increase planned for Oranga Tamariki social workers over 5 years will widen that gap further.

Dr Jury says, “It is pleasing to see the Minister value the critical role and work of social workers, however we need to look at remunerating the work that is being carried out by other agencies and social workers contracted by Oranga Tamariki, so there is no impact to these providers, services, and their clients.”

“Unless this increase is extended across all social workers, it will be significantly harder for organisations such as ours to employ and to retain experienced social workers that Oranga Tamariki needs to continue the critical work with children and their families.