This page will be added to over time. It holds some of the frequently asked questions we’re receiving about the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s Careerforce’s role in pay equity?

The Government has tasked Careerforce with the role of assessing care and support qualifications for pay equity purposes. This is because we are the Industry Training Organisation for the Health and Wellbeing sectors and the Government-appointed body that sets skill standards, develops and facilitates achievement of NZQA qualifications across all our sectors.


Was Careerforce party to negotiations around the pay equity settlement?

Careerforce was not party to negotiations on the Pay Equity Settlement. We found out at the same time as the rest of the sector. We weren’t party to the negotiation. We didn’t have anything to do with the settlement. We don’t have anything to do with remuneration or pay rates. But when they said who is best placed to compare these qualifications against the Careerforce qualifications, it was obvious that we were best placed to do that.


Why didn’t Careerforce consult with the sector before making decision on qualification equivalencies?

Because there was nothing to consult and nothing to decide. We didn’t have any discretion. We assess other qualifications for equivalence against the Health and Wellbeing qualifications.  To do this we compare whether or not the learning outcomes, credit values and levels are a match for Health and Wellbeing qualifications at Levels 2,3, or 4

We are involved, because we developed the Health and Wellbeing qualifications under the supervision of NZQA and we are audited by NZQA to ensure we are complicit and compliant with NZQA rules.


What is Careerforce doing to inform employers about qualification assessment outcomes?

Careerforce are aware of the pressures faced by our workplaces and we’re providing support in a number of ways:

  • A dedicated Pay Equity newsletter with updates and information
  • A series of physical roadshows around New Zealand
  • An online Webinar
  • A qualification assessment team
  • A commitment to advise employers of updates to qualification equivalencies 48 hours before they are published on our website
  • A searchable list of equivalent and non-equivalent qualifications on our website that is being continuously updated as assessments are complete
  • Training solutions to fill any gaps your staff may have


How did Careerforce sort out the equivalency process for overseas nursing qualifications?

NZQA are the ones who set the rules and they’re the ones who monitor Careerforce and audit us and they’re very strict about it. NZQA have assessed the qualified nurses and said that a nursing degrees from the 5 countries (Australia, South Africa, the UK, the Philippines and India) are equivalent to a Level 7 qualification on the New Zealand framework. Other nursing qualifications from these countries are equivalent to at least a Level 4.

When assessing against the Health and Wellbeing qualifications we found that these overseas nursing qualifications do not meet the condition of the Level 4 qualification to consider, respect and honour the history of Māori as tangata whenua.  So even though NZQA said they were equivalent to at least Level 4, they actually need to complete this missing requirement for the specific Health and Wellbeing qualification.  They can do this through study at other education providers within New Zealand or through Careerforce by completing the two specified unit standards.


Why do international nurses at Level 3 need two more papers, why not give them the full Level 4 qualification?

Because they haven’t done the rest of our assessment. All we’re saying is that it’s equivalent. If they want our qualification, we have to do a recognition of current competency process or they have to take the test or assessment to get awarded the qualification.


Aged care contracts require staff to have 4 dementia units which are part of the Level 4 Advanced Support qualification to be able to work on dementia facilities. Why not make those mandatory so staff get an incentive to do them?
Those dementia units in the Level 4 qualification are not a compulsory requirement to get that qualification as not everyone doing the qualification works with clients with dementia so therefore it cannot be made compulsory.   Our understanding is that the contract that mandates these requirements is being reviewed to bring it more into line with the new pay equity legislation.


Is this something that you would be looking at (making the 4 dementia units mandatory) in the future and is there a timeline for this?

We are about to review the Careerforce programme leading to the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing L4 so this is something that we will consider at a programme level then.


Why is it taking so long to hear from Careerforce about whether a qualification is equivalent?

Please bear with us as we have received over 5000 enquiries. Sometimes they are very difficult phone calls. We are taking time to listen to each individual and assess their qualification individually if it’s not a straight equivalent. Our pay equity equivalency team sometimes have to go back to the education providers to gain information. We can’t just assume that a qualification’s competency and outcomes are the same.  It sometimes varies from provider to provider.


Do carers need to have the actual NZQA qualification in health and wellbeing?

The Act doesn’t specify that they must have a New Zealand health and wellbeing qualification. They only need to at least have an equivalent to the health and wellbeing qualifications at Levels 2, 3 or 4.  When we say that somebody has got the qualification that’s equivalent, we don’t write them out our qualification and give it to them. We just say for pay equity purposes, you’ve got an equivalent qualification. If you want our qualification, then you need to go through an RPL or recognition of prior learning or take our assessments. It will be done in the workplace where you have to perform the competency under job conditions and to job standards.


If an employee is applying for a new immigration Visa and they have been granted equivalency to a Careerforce qualification, will this be deemed equivalent by immigration?

No. The assessment done for immigration is a general equivalency to the New Zealand Qualifications Framework and not to the specific qualification.


What is the process Careerforce follows for determining qualification equivalency for Pay Equity purposes?

My qualification is on the list, but it is equivalent to a lower level qualification. Why is this?

There are a number of reasons why this might be. It might be due to the number of credits in the original qualification. Or it may be that the content covered is not equivalent to the NZ Certificate in Health and Wellbeing at the same level.


What happens if a trainee has copies of completed and assessed work that has not been reported to NZQA?

A: The trainee will need to enrol in the NZ Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Level 3. The Careerforce REAL process will use the assessments as evidence of competence so that the trainee only needs to complete assessments that have not already been marked as competent. Normal qualification fees apply.


If a NZ trained enrolled or previously registered nurse is working as a care and support worker, what is their qualification equivalent to?

A: There is information on the MoH website regarding this. Please refer to the MoH document here.


I have been advised by Careerforce (staff or website) that my qualification is not equivalent.  How do I appeal this decision?

A: To appeal a decision that Careerforce has made please email a scanned copy of your qualification, the course/module/paper descriptors from your education provider (note this must be the education organization that awarded your qualification) and your job description to Please make sure you include your full name and contact details in the email.