NZNO Claims

for renegotiating the NZNO/DHB MECA

We started our claims process with delegates running more than 400 meetings with approximately 5700 NZNO members. The results of those meetings formed the basis of the claims survey, where members contributed their views on the claims put forward and had the opportunity to raise any claims that were not included. The claims were then reviewed by NZNO’s National Delegate Committee for the DHB sector and are now presented for endorsement by members.




The need to attract and retain nurses:

There are significant nursing shortages and an ageing nursing workforce. New Zealand already relies heavily on internationally qualified nurses to support our health system, having the highest proportion of internationally qualified nurses of any OECD country. We need to attract people into the profession and members have indicated that a significant pay increase is required to do that. The average increase claimed by members in the claims survey is 9 percent per year.

Current context:

The nursing workforce has been essential to New Zealands response to COVID-19. The wage claims from members need to be progressed by DHBs for the long-term sustainability of the nursing workforce and the benefit of patients.

Our pay claim principles:

Members responding to the claims survey support health care assistants (HCAs) in DHBs achieving pay parity with the base rates of HCAs working in aged residential care. This would mean an increase of 17% by July 2021, with an immediate 10 percent increase.

Members also support maintaining the existing pay relativities (the gaps between pay for different roles). This will help to attract and retain people within the profession and would mean pay for all members increasing by the same percentage as pay for HCAs

Members also supported a wage claim that would better incentivise nurses taking on senior roles.

Two additional pay claims were supported by members in the survey; the creation of a separate pay scale for nurse practitioners, and introducing additional steps in the community pay scale.

Proposed pay claims:
  • A 17 percent increase by July 2021, with an immediate 10 percent increase.
  • Increase allowances to retain their current value
  • Introduce additional steps for the community scales
  • Increase senior nurse rates to address the disincentive for nurses to take on senior roles
  • Create a separate pay scale for nurse practitioners.


The term of our MECA

Members have a strong preference for a two-year term.


Safe staffing

There is clear discontent with the progress made by DHBs on safe staffing. Members raised two different approaches to addressing this issue and both options were presented in the claims survey.

Most members preferred the following claim, which will provide a safety net for patients and staff where CCDM has not been fully implemented.

  • Require DHBs to measure *‘Shifts below target’ for every ward/service on every shift and to staff at levels of zero variance or greater, according to patient acuity or to meet the planned roster where Trendcare is not available
  • Require public reporting, and penalties where DHBs do not meet targets
  • Paid time for NZNO delegates to carry out work associated with safe staffing
  • Payment for NZNO members to recognise the contribution members and NZNO makes towards safe staffing within the DHBs.

*Shifts below target refers to whether the staffing levels for a shift are safe for both staff and patients. Measuring shifts below target and requiring DHBs to at least meet zero variance, or the planned roster, will make it easier to monitor and enforce the staffing agreement.


Pandemic / emergency response

  • A payment for members who are involved in a pandemic or emergency response, or who take on additional duties during a pandemic or emergency response
  • Leave provisions, and/or other arrangements, e.g. accommodation, to protect vulnerable staff and family members.


Supporting the nursing workforce

These claims support the nursing workforce, meaning we are better able to support patients.

  • Increase sick leave from 10 to 15 days per annum
  • DHBs ‘top up’ ACC payments where the injury is work-related (including workplace assaults on members). This payment will not be deducted from sick leave
  • Improve bereavement leave for members who need additional leave, e.g. a need to travel overseas/tangihanga obligations/other close relationships
  • Introduce a clause to provide leave, flexible working and other support for members who experience domestic violence
  • Increase the top up period for parental leave payments to match the length of time parents are able to receive Government paid parental leave
  • Introduce the ability for members to limit the number of night shifts in the last trimester of pregnancy – upon medical advice
  • Introduce the ability for members to limit the number of night shifts and on-call for members over 60 – upon medical advice
  • Increase the maximum employer Kiwisaver contribution
  • Introduce a footwear allowance
  • Provide access to safe, free parking and support other transport options.
  • Employees are entitled to a workplace that is free of occupational violence and aggression. DHBs will work with NZNO to implement NZNO’s 10 step plan to stop occupational violence and aggression
  • Improve rostering provisions to ensure members working night shifts have adequate time to rest and recover
  • Limit the maximum number of on-call hours members can be required to work, to comply with the obligations in the Employment Relations Act.


Recognition for when we do more and improve the health care system

  • Amend the higher duties clause to make it more accessible
  • Increase night and weekend penal rates
  • Increase the duly authorised officer allowance
  • Introduce allowances for:
    • registered nurse (designated)/midwife prescribing
    • nurse In charge/nurse co-ordinator
    • preceptoring
    • cultural responsibilities members may take on in the workplace.


Professional development claims to support ongoing learning

  • Accessible professional development funding for all nurses and midwives to: cover all requirements to maintain competency; advance knowledge and skills; and meet NCNZ/MCNZ requirements, including:
    • support for senior nurses/midwives to attend relevant conferences, seminars and symposia
    • parity with Doctors CME funding for nurse practitioners and registered nurse prescribers
  • Increasing paid leave and equitable access to leave for professional development including time to:
    • design and participate in quality improvement initiatives
    • meet NCNZ and MCNZ continuing competency requirements
  • Ensure nationally consistent, evidential requirements for PDRP in alignment with the New Zealand Nursing Council assessment processes
  • DHB professional development support to sustain cultural knowledge
  • Increase the PDRP/QLP and Merit step payments
  • Introduce additional payments for members with post graduate qualifications
  • Clinical supervision for nurses including:
    • 12 months funded supervision for new graduate nurses
    • 12 months funded supervision for nurses new to senior roles
  • Commitment to investigate models for the provision of clinical supervision for all registered nurses/midwives.


Making our MECA easier to understand

Use plain language to amend various clauses so our MECA is easier to understand.


Valuing our MECA

  • Include a bargaining fee for non members who enjoy the benefits of our MECA and are not members of another union.
  • Ensure members of other unions do not receive the benefits of the NZNO/DHB MECA.