Mental health and addictions support worker settlement negotiations resulted from the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017, known as the 'Terranova' settlement (named for the associated court case taken by the unions). This earlier settlement provided aged care, disability and home and community support workers with a pay increase effective 1 July 2017. This is the first time there has been a qualification based pay rate for this workforce. That settlement agreement and legislation specifically excluded mental health and addictions support workers.
A delegation of provider representatives, led by Platform, began meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Health, DHBs and unions since the Terranova settlement to work toward securing a settlement for mental health and addictions support workers.
In mid-2017, the PSA and E tū unions lodged formal proceedings with the Employment Relations Authority (and this was moved to the Employment Court) against multiple employers on behalf of mental health and addictions support workers. Dr David Clark, the Minister of Health, stated his desire for the matter be resolved outside of court.
On 14 February 2018, the Minister of Health announced that the Government will enter formal negotiations with the aim of reaching a satisfactory and speedy settlement for mental health and addictions support workers.
Formal negotiations commenced with the Ministry of Health (representing other government funders), DHBs, employers (represented by Platform) and employees (represented by the PSA and E tū unions).
Providers were asked to provide detailed information about their service agreements and individual employees who may be eligible under a settlement. If you did not complete a data collection tool, please contact your funder now to find out how they would like you to provide information to them for the purposes of assessing your and your workforce’s eligibility for the settlement.
Agreement was reached between the parties and the Minister of Health announced the settlement on 22 June 2018. Please see the settlement page for details of what is expected of service providers under the settlement.
It is expected that legislation will be enacted in early 2019 for this settlement which will require all eligible mental health and addiction support workers to be paid at the new rates by their employer.
Whilst the negotiations for the Terranova settlement included employer representatives, the eventual agreement was only reached between the Government and the unions - employers were not signatories to that settlement agreement. We believed it was essential that providers were involved in negotiations, and that they should be signatories to any settlement agreement, to assist in clarifying important aspects of a settlement, including implementation considerations that could cause unintended challenges for funders and/or employees. Platform’s members, including the employers named in the related legal proceedings, gave their mandate for Platform to represent them in negotiations and voted on whether or not to accept the eventual agreement.