Primary Practice and Urgent Care Pay Equity

On 8 December 2023 NZNO raised a Pay Equity claim for members who work in primary practices and urgent care centres. The claim has been sent to more than 500 employers.

We will provide regular updates to members. The information below will also answer some questions. If you have additional questions about this Pay Equity Claim please email [email protected] 

Why is NZNO raising this claim?

NZNO is seeking to remove gender discrimination from nurses’ pay rates using the Pay Equity legislation and processes because this has a material impact on equal access to quality health services.

Bargaining alone has not closed the pay gap that leads to  nurses choosing where they will practise based on what will pay the bills rather than their passion for particular areas of nursing.
Achieving Pay Equity rates across the whole health sector will help the recruitment and retention of the New Zealand nursing workforce and will encourage more people, particularly Māori and Pasifika, to enter nursing and remain in nursing roles.
Primary Practice context

NZNO is currently party (with PSA and E tū) to a Care and Support Pay Equity claim which covers support worker roles. This claim was raised with a “representative group” of 15 employers because there is legislation supporting this Pay Equity claim to be extended to the rest of the Care and Support Sector once it is settled.

That legislation (the Support Workers Act) will expire at the end of 2023, so there will no longer be a way to extend this Pay Equity settlement. Therefore the same parties to the first Care and Support claim have raised a second claim for the rest of the Care and Support Sector.

On this basis NZNO will raise the Primary Practice and Urgent Care Centres Pay Equity claim with all employers in the Primary Health Care sector where at least one NZNO member is employed.

What happens next?

Essentially the Equal Pay Amendment Act sets out the processes that must be complied with to progress a Pay Equity claim. This is usually a collaborative process between the union and employer parties. The Primary Practice and Urgent Care Centres Pay Equity claim is complex only to the extent that the parties will have to reach and commit to Process Agreements between the union/employer parties and for the employers between themselves and how they will be represented in the claim.

Once we are clear about who will be directly involved in terms of union and employer representatives, agreements will be developed around how and when communications are developed and circulated; the frequency of meetings; and how the parties will resource the process, e.g. the work assessment phase.


The Public Services Commission has been very helpful, providing guidance and support in our previous Pay Equity claims. It is able to assist both parties, in particular with writing up the milestone papers.

Pay Equity Process – What happens?

Raising a claim

1.     A union can raise a claim on behalf of its members with those members’ employers. Claims can be with a single employer or multiple employers.

2.     The claim must describe the work done by the claimants that the union believes has been either currently or historically undervalued based on gender.

3.     When the claim is received by the employer, the employer must express a view on whether the claim is arguable.

4.     The employer must notify all affected employees and relevant unions that a claim has been raised. Employees include workers who do the same or similar work that has been described in the claim, whether they are union members or not.

5.     The unions and the employers must agree on a bargaining process agreement between them [a BPA). If the claim is raised with multiple employers, the employer parties must also agree a multi-employer Pay Equity process agreement [MEPEPA].

Assessing the claim

1.     The union and the employer will need to meet to agree a bargaining process agreement which will identify the timeline and information needs required to progress the claim.

2.     Agreement will need to be reached on which work assessment tool will be used. Currently the Te Orowaru Pay Equity Tool that was jointly developed by the Public Services Commission and NZ CTU unions is being used in the Pay Equity claims already underway.

3.     Decisions will be made on how the work assessment interviews will be conducted, how many interviews there will be, who will be the interviewers and which roles twill be interviewed.

4.     Training for interviewers on using the work assessment tool is provided and supported by the Public Services Commission Pay Equity Unit.

5.     Comparators are identified and where necessary interviews of the comparators is undertaken. There is now a significant body of data already collected through other pay equity claims that may be accessed.

6.     Information about remuneration of claimants and comparators is collected and compared.

Settling the claim

1.     The collected information and data is complied and analysed. Conclusions are drawn on undervaluation.

2.     Negotiations commence to conclude a Pay Equity claim.


·       A review of the Pay Equity settlement, including terms and conditions, must be conducted within three years of the settlement to ensure ongoing maintenance of the settlement agreement. This review process must form part of the settlement.

Various milestone reports are required throughout the process that the Public Services Commission can help with.

·       Milestone 1 – arguability is agreed

·       Milestone 2 – the development of the initial bargaining strategy

·       Milestone 3 – the work assessment process

·       Milestone 4 – assessment of remuneration and terms and conditions

·       Milestone 5 – settlement bargaining strategy

·       Milestone 6 – Settlement reached

·       Milestone 7- implements post settlement review process.

Member updates

2023-12-8 NZNO Pay Equity claim for Primary Practice and Urgent Care centres