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Stuart Smith, MP for Kaikoura, says local families will benefit from a $2 billion pay equity settlement for some of the health sector’s lowest paid workers.

The wage boost over five years follows the TerraNova pay equity claim brought by E tū (previously the Service and Food Workers Union) on behalf of care worker Kristine Bartlett.

“This historic settlement will deliver pay increases of between 15 and 50 per cent to 55,000 workers in aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services,” says Mr Smith.

“Most of us know someone who is receiving care, and know what an important job these carers do for our elderly and disabled people every day. Personally, I hold these carers in high regard and greatly appreciate the service they provide to around 110,000 of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.”

“This pay increase will help to ensure we have a higher paid, more skilled and engaged workforce.”

“Around 20,000 of this predominately female workforce are currently on the minimum wage of $15.75 an hour. The settlement means that on July 1 they will move to at least $19 an hour, a 21 per cent pay rise.

“For a fulltime worker, this means they will be taking home around an extra $100 a week, which is over $5000 a year.

“This pay increase will also help to reduce the high turnover of our care and support workers across aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services.”

The $2 billion settlement over five years will be funded through an increase of $1.85 billion to the health budget and $192 million to ACC.

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