Support homeworkers / Home Support Workers
Wednesday, May 20 2015
The home support workers
need pay equity and not austerity
The NB Coalition for Pay Equity agrees with the five presidents of the
medical staffs of Horizon hospitals who recently recommended to increase the
wages of home support workers as a solution to hospital congestion (1).
“Home support workers cannot continue working for austerity wages. Theirs is
a typical traditional female job that is grossly underpaid. They should get
pay equity now rather than shoulder the government deficit,” says Vallie
Stearns, Chair of the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity.
“Don’t forget that pay equity wages are based on wages earned in
male-dominated jobs of the same value. So if we can afford paying
male-dominated jobs a certain amount, why can’t we afford paying the same
amount for female-dominated jobs that have the same value? It is a question
of justice,” says Vallie Stearns.
The provincial government started a pay equity process for home support
workers in 2009. The results only came out in 2012. The Alward government
calculated that “fair wage” for home support workers was $13.15 an hour but
said that they would only see that full amount on their pay cheque in
2016-2017. They currently earn $12.58.
This is far from the $19.93 found to be pay equity wages for NB home support
workers in 2012 by economist and pay equity expert Ruth Rose (2).
The Alward government came up with much lower results because it modified
the pay equity methodology with the goal of keeping wages low, the expert
The Liberal Party promised to review the pay equity methodology but has not
started working on it.
Vallie Stearns urges the government to respect its promise to move forward
on pay equity and to use a gender-based analysis in its program review and
budgets. “New Brunswick women should not bear the burden of deficit
reduction. Home support workers have been waiting so long for pay equity. It
is time to put fairness first.”