A mere 11 weeks after the pay equity settlement was announced, workers in the aged care, community support and disability sectors will receive their much-anticipated pay increase from 1 July onwards.

With the finer details of the settlement only announced in May and the legislation passed shortly after, the implementation of the settlement has progressed too quickly for some.

Home and Community Health Association Chief Executive Julie Haggie says they have only just learned about the finer details of the settlement.

“Two days before the start of pay equity, we are only now getting a clearer idea about what the Ministry did not intend to fund this year and in future years on wages and other things related to pay equity.”

New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) Chief Executive Simon Wallace says the biggest problem with the implementation has been the time factor.

“There simply hasn’t been enough time,” he says.

In spite of the short time frame, Wallace says providers have completed their Workforce Translation Tools and operationally are more or less ready for 1 July.

“There will be some anxiety with the first payment run from an operational perspective,” he says.

“There are still questions around accrued leave, time in lieu and sick leave.”

Victoria Brown of Care Association New Zealand agrees.

“We are ready for the change insofar as the Translation Tool has been sent in and we have received an advance payment and the Ministry team knows what we need to pay – but that first pay date will be very telling.”

Wallace has also asked the Ministry to relax the auditing processes for rest homes for a short time to give providers some breathing space while they adapt to the changes, to which the Ministry has agreed.

“I don’t think the Ministry or the DHBs should underestimate [how much] work has gone into this,” says Wallace.

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