By Suzanne McKenzie | Posted: Monday September 2, 2019
Around 40 residential aged-care nurses employed by Presbyterian Support Southland Enliven are delighted to have received significant pay increases, affording them parity with their DHB counterparts.
Presbyterian Support Southland (PSS) Chief Executive, John Prendergast, has today released details of the new remuneration levels, which puts PSS nursing staff wage rates on par with the DHB Multi-Employer Collective Agreement (MECA) pay rates.
The new pay deal sees registered nurses’ pay go up an average of 10.1 percent across all grade steps and there was a further 3 percent increase for top-tier senior nurses.
Enrolled nurses on all wage steps would see an average increase of 4.1 percent, with the new salary step giving another 3 percent. The new pay deal was effective as of 5 August 2019.
Mr Prendergast said the reasons behind the move were three-pronged.
He said the pay increases were in recognition of the fact that Enliven nursing staff were valued highly and considered “absolutely pivotal to the business”; and investing in the workforce was a top priority.
“We have also been conscious, for some time now, that while a considerable gap remained between the wage rates paid to DHB nurses, compared to what we were paying ours, we were always going to be vulnerable to losing nurses to DHBs.”
Pressure on retaining residential aged care nurses had also been exacerbated by the decision last year that DHBs would recruit an additional 500 nurses to hospitals.
Mr Prendergast said he and the board were grateful that the vast majority of their nurses had stayed loyal to PSS and they were “very pleased” to now be in the position to reward that loyalty, and put them on a par with their DHB nursing peers.
Enliven’s Vickery Court Manger, Rachel Linton-Mapp said nursing staff had greeted the news of the wage increases with jubilation and there was also relief that the new and skilled nurse exodus to the DHBs had been prevented.
Ms Linton-Mapp said aged care nursing levels were insufficient and the demands on their nurses ever-increasing - due to the growing numbers of people living longer, and their increased complexity of needs.
“This will definitely help to attract new nurses, recruit previously-employed nurses back to the sector and retain the ones we invest in and develop.”
“So many of our nurses have openly expressed what a wonderful thing is to be appreciated, valued and respected ... This pay rise validates their worth.”