NZCCSS welcomes the announcement today that Oranga Tamariki social workers have reached agreement on a pay equity settlement.
“Recognition of the value of social work in supporting family, whānau and community wellbeing is long overdue. However, it is critical pay rates for NGO social workers are not left behind”, says Trevor McGlinchey, Executive officer, NZ Council of Christian Social Services.
“The NGO sector employs 28% of registered social workers, compared with 20% in Oranga Tamariki. They operate within the same employment market and in many cases work with the same clients”.
“An increase in pay for Oranga Tamariki social workers will have a serious impact on the ability of the NGO sector to recruit and retain social workers, particularly given that services have not seen a funding increase in 10 years, while the volume and complexity of clients’ needs have significantly increased” says Trevor McGlinchey.
“We are already hearing from NZCCSS members about the challenges of finding and retaining experienced social workers based on existing pay gaps of 20%. This problem is set to intensify if equity between NGO social workers and Oranga Tamariki social workers is not addressed”.
The sustained underfunding of the NGO sector and the impact of the pay equity claim on the sustainability of services are key sector issues NZCCSS and sector partners have raised with government and officials.
“NZCCSS understands that work within Oranga Tamariki is currently underway to identify key impacts on the NGO sector. This is a positive step forward and we look forward to being involved in this work and in further discussions on how equity across pay rates for Oranga Tamariki social workers and NGO social workers can be remedied within the short-term”.