1. 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.

Please refer to the Equal Pay Act 1972, as amended by the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 for the legislation.

2. What is the PSA Public Service Specialist Customer Support 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 perform specific roles within ACC, Inland Revenue and MSD. These roles are performed predominately by women and may be undervalued due to sex.

The chief executives consider that working through this claim is a high priority for their agencies and their employees in these roles. Following the signing of the Bargaining Process Agreement, required under the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020, the chief executives and the PSA seek to resolve the claim as efficiently and effectively as possible. The pay equity process will be worked through jointly by chief executive representatives and the PSA.

The claim was lodged under the Equal Pay Act 1972, as amended by the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020. The legislation aims to make it easier to raise a pay equity claim and encourages collaboration and evidence-based decision making to address pay equity. The process to complete this claim is evidenced based, and this will take time to work through.

3. What is the Pay Equity Process?

The pay equity claim process consists of three main components:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 undervaluation.
  3. Settling the claim– which includes negotiating and concluding the pay equity claim, including implementation and process for reviewing and maintaining pay equity.

4. Pay equity claim process:

Additional information on the pay equity process is available on the Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission website: Pay Equity Claimant and Comparators Process

5. What’s happening now?

Following chief executives agreeing the claim is arguable, a joint employer and union working group is now doing the work to prepare for the assessing phase.

6. How will I know if my role is covered by the claim?

Agencies have sent written notification to employees whose roles are affected by the claim. If you believe you should have received a letter but didn’t, please contact your agency’s HR/People team. If you are a union member, you can also contact your union organiser who can assist you with working with your employer.

7. Do I need to be a member of the PSA or any other union to be included in the claim?

No. You do not need to be a member of the PSA or any other union to be covered by the claim or to be offered the benefits of any settlement. 

8. Do I need to make a financial contribution to a union to be included in the claim or be offered the benefits of any settlement?

No. However, unions can request a voluntary contribution towards the cost of bargaining the claim from non-members, and you can make this contribution if you wish.

9. Will my pay change?

It’s too early to know what the outcome will be. If sex-based undervaluation is determined, the parties will negotiate a rate or rates that correct the undervaluation during the “Settling the Claim” phase of the pay equity process.

10. Where can I read the legislation?

Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 

11. Which agencies are covered by the claim?

Accident Compensation Corporation

Inland Revenue Department

Ministry of Social Development

12. I received a notification letter. What do I need to do?

If you receive a notification letter, you must decide whether to remain in the claim or opt out. If you decide to opt out, you must give notice to your employer within 20 working days of receiving the notification letter.

What happens if I do not opt out?

  • If you do not opt out within the first 20 working days, your name and work email address will be provided to the PSA and potentially to any other union who joins the claim. This applies to both union and non-union members as required by the Act.
  • You can participate in the voting processes for any proposed settlement.
  • Your employment terms and conditions may change to reflect any agreed claim settlement.
  • If the claim is settled, you cannot raise your own pay equity claim

What happens if I choose to opt out?

  • If you opt out within the first 20 working days, your name and work email address will not be provided to the PSA and potentially any other union who joins the claim.
  • You will not be able to participate in any voting process to agree any proposed settlement.
  • Your employer will offer you any benefits that match the settlement of the claim.

13. How do I opt out of the claim?

You may opt out at any time, but if you do so after 20 working days from the date of your notification letter, your name and work email will have already been sent to the PSA and possibly any other union involved in the claim.

If you are a member of a union who has raised a claim, you must first resign your membership of that union before opting out. This is required by the Act.

You will need to provide confirmation to your employer that you resigned your membership when you notify them that you are opting out of the claim.

You should send your opt out email to the address provided in your notification letter.

14. What if I miss the opt out deadline?

If you do not opt out within the first 20 working days, your name and work email address will be provided to the PSA and potentially to any other union who joins the claim. This applies to both union and non-union members as required by the Act.

You can opt out at any stage by notifying your employer as detailed under FAQ “How do I opt out?”.

15. What if I’m a member of another union? Am I still covered by the claim?

Yes. If your role is covered by the claim, you are covered by the claim.

16. I opted-out. Can I opt back in?

Yes. You may opt back in at any time by notifying your employer that you want to opt in.

17. Why do I have to resign my union membership to opt out of the claim?

You are only required to resign your union membership if your union is involved in the claim and you choose to opt out of the claim. This is required by the Act. You may choose to re-join the claim at any time by notifying your employer that you would like to opt back into the claim, and you could then re-join the union.

18. What if I leave my current employer?

You should provide your employer with your new contact details to ensure they have a way to contact you about the claim. If you are a union member, you should also ensure that your union has your current contact details.

19. What if I change roles within my agency?

If your new role is predominantly clerical or administrative, you will still be covered by the claim.

20. What if I am currently on secondment?

If you received a notification letter, it will be for your substantive role, which is the role you will return to at the end of your secondment. If you did not receive a notification letter, but you believe you should have received a letter for your substantive role, please contact your agency’s HR/People team.

21. Does the fact a claim has been raised mean my work is undervalued?

We will not know whether work has been undervalued until the end of the “Assessing the claim” phase of the pay equity claim process.

22. Will my employment terms and conditions change when the claim is settled?

If sex-based undervaluation is determined and you’ve remained covered by the claim, your terms and conditions may change to reflect any agreed claim settlement.

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