Significant pay settlement for mental health workers

Community and institutional mental health care has been deficient ever since mental hospitals were mostly emptied several decades ago.

Last year when 55,000  aged and disability residential care, and home and community support services workers, were awarded a long overdue pay increase (from the bare minimum to something relatively reasonable) there was a notable exclusion of 5,000 mental health care workers.

Yesterday the Minister of Health David Clark announced that this would be rectified.

Pay equity settlement for mental health and addiction support workers

Health Minister Dr David Clark is pleased to announce an estimated 5,000 mental health and addiction support workers will soon receive the same pay rates as care and support workers.

In an agreement with unions and employers, the Government will extend the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act to include mental health and addiction support workers.

Nearly half will get an increase of more than $3 per hour which means full-time workers will be paid approximately an extra $120 a week before tax.  One-in-five workers will get an increase of more than $5 per hour or around an extra $200 for a 40-hour week.

The new pay scale reflects workers’ qualifications and experience. It will be back-dated to 1 July 2017.

“This agreement puts right a problem created by the previous Government, which deliberately excluded mental health and addiction workers from the Care and Support Workers settlement. These workers often support New Zealanders when they are most vulnerable and they deserve a fair go. This Government has delivered that,” says Dr Clark.

“Ensuring our mental health and addiction workers are paid what they deserve will help deliver a robust workforce,” says Dr Clark.

The $173.5 million settlement extension will be implemented over a five-year term and funded through an increase to Vote Health.

This will go some way towards improving mental health care in institutions, community houses and the community generally.

Mental health issues impact on many things, including general health, education, workplace productivity, crime, prison overcrowding and rehabilitation.

Paying workers more will help get more and better care for people with mental health issues and their families.

This costs a bit but it should be money well spent.


  1. PartisanZ

     /  June 23, 2018

    Who can disagree?

    Sort of the ultimate Rightie dilemma, isn’t it?

    “To pay or not to pay, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the world to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous cost-saving ideology, or to take up alms, and by opposing, end them”

    • PartisanZ

       /  June 23, 2018

      Another quality decision from Labour-led …

  2. Blazer

     /  June 23, 2018

    plenty of money available for nurses and healthcare providers.

    National ramped consultants payments to over 1/2 a billion dollars FFS!

    • Blazer

       /  June 23, 2018

      we have 3 consultants on board…not hard to guess who they might be…or is it?

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 23, 2018

    Why do these workers get what the Govt decrees rather than what they are worth like everyone else?

    • Gezza

       /  June 23, 2018

      What are they worth?

    • Blazer

       /  June 23, 2018

      so recently departed Fonterra boss got over 8mil for a years work….Fonterra lost 100’s of millions.

      Please explain why he was ‘worth’ the 8 mil.

      I have thousands of example for you…look forward to your explanations.p.s please do not offer,the market or shareholders decided.

      • Zedd

         /  June 23, 2018

        YES.. ‘Mind the Gap folks.. keep the workers downtrodden’ & throw bags of cash in the ‘top end’ .. more of the usual ‘TORY trickle down rhetoric’
        unfortunately (for them) more folks are starting to realise its all total B-S; very little actually ‘trickles down’ (from their $millions piles)

        It is time to again, start paying the workers ‘a fair wage for a fair days graft’.. not just the ‘minimum wage’ for all (to cuts costs & boost corporate profits)

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  June 23, 2018

        You are worth what someone is willing to pay you unless you work for the Government or are covered by a union award.

        • Gezza

           /  June 23, 2018

          If someone working in the mental health area is the one person who actually got through somehow & stopped someone you loved from killing themselves, & you never knew, because they never told snyone that, what are they worth?

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  June 23, 2018

            Probably the same as the mechanic who stopped someone killing themselves by finding and fixing a steering defect. But the Govt doesn’t set mechanics’ wages.

            • Gezza

               /  June 24, 2018

              Totally specious argument. Moronic too. A car is a machine. Lift your game please. The fact is we have a state funded health system which includes funding mental health workers & the work they do simply does not lend itself to the normal kind of productivity & performance metrics applied to production, manufacturing, fast food, IT, cleaning & tourism services. Mechanics wages have been dropping too I think.

              They collectively have been underpaid & overworked & should be paid whatever is required to get & keep them working in their field, & in that sense they are being paid the assessed minimum to achieve that goal. Private psychiatrists & psychologists are contracted for probably higher amounts on top of that without necessarily achieving any better results.

              Please let us hear no more of your nonsense on this matter.