What is pay equity?
Pay equity is about women and men receiving the same pay for doing jobs that are different but are of equal value. It recognises that while on the surface two jobs may look very different to each other, they require the same or similar degrees of skills, responsibility, conditions, experience and effort.
In some instances, workers in female dominated occupations have experienced undervaluation based on sex, perceptions and prejudices, which minimised their skills, responsibilities, conditions, experience and effort required by their work.
By comparing the work and pay of female dominated occupations with male dominated comparator occupations, pay equity ensures that workers in female dominated occupations receive pay that properly recognises the value of the work that they do.
In brief, pay equity is about correcting any undervaluation of female dominated workforces.
What is the PSA Public Service Clerical and Administrative Work Pay Equity Claim?
On 31 October 2019 the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA) raised a pay equity claim on behalf of PSA members “who predominantly perform clerical and administrative work (however described or defined) including those who perform customer support work and call centre work”. These roles are performed predominately by women and may be undervalued due to sex. This claim covers 43 public service agencies and a large number of roles.
The claim was lodged under the Equal Pay Act 1972. The legislation aims to make it easier to raise a pay equity claim and encourages collaboration and evidence-based decision making to address any pay equity.
Following the signing of the Bargaining Process Agreement, required under the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020, the unions and chief executives seek to resolve the claim as efficiently and effectively as possible. The pay equity process will be worked through jointly by the parties and in accordance with that agreement.
Subsequently, three further unions have raised claims for their members covered by the scope of the PSA claim. The unions are:
- New Zealand Police Association, at New Zealand Police
- Taxpro, at Inland Revenue
- NUPE, at Oranga Tamariki and Department of Corrections
The unions have all agreed with the PSA to consolidate the claims and how they will work together through the claim.
The unions who raised claims consider achieving pay equity a high priority for their membership covered by the claim. The 43 chief executives consider that resolving this claim is a high priority for their agencies and their employees in these roles.
This claim is large and complex. It impacts a wide range of roles across many agencies. The process to complete the claim is evidenced-based, and it will take time to capture and analyse the information needed to assess the claim.
What is the pay equity process?
The pay equity claim process consists of three main phases:
- Raising a claim– which includes a claim being raised and the work described, the employer forming a view on arguability, and notifying affected employees and relevant unions who have members covered by this claim. This includes notification to new employees as the join agencies (See FAQs).
- Assessing the claim– which includes assessing the work of the claimants, identifying comparators, assessing the work of the comparators, comparing the work and remuneration of the claimant and comparators, compiling the work and remuneration assessment and comparison, and drawing conclusions on whether undervaluation is found or not.
- Settling the claim– which includes bargaining to correct any undervaluation, ratification of any proposed outcome by the claimant employees, and concluding the pay equity claim, including implementation and process for reviewing and maintaining pay equity
What’s happening now?
The parties have commenced the work assessment phase. The work assessment phase involves assessing the work of claimants and comparators. This helps us to determine whether the work covered by the claim, which has been predominantly performed by women, has been undervalued.
Currently unions and employers are jointly conducting claimant interviews to better the type of work being performed across the 43 agencies. A sample of roles have been selected to ensure a balanced view of the work is collected.
A sample of employees and their supervisors have been asked to participate in this important step. If you are offered an interview, we encourage you to agree. When you accept an invitation to be interviewed you will receive an invite and information about how to find out more prior to your interview taking place.
The interview covers a range of things such as the skills, responsibilities, conditions of work and the degree of effort involved in the work of the claimants, such as their understanding of Te Ao Māori at work..
Part of the work of the assessment phase of the claim is to identify potential male dominated comparator roles for assessment. The assessment of these roles follows a similar process of interviewing and gathering information so that later that information can be used to determine any undervaluation of the claimant roles.
What impact do COVID Alert Level changes have on the claim?
The Pay Equity Claim will still progress through all Alert Levels, although it may be affected by any restrictions bought about by those alert levels.
For more information: