Mental health workers set to receive pay rise

5,000 mental health workers can expect a pay increase next month after Health Minister David Clark signed an agreement that will give them the same rates as care and support workers.

From next month nearly half of those will get an increase of more than $3 per hour.  That will be an extra $120 a week.

One-in-five workers will get an increase of more than $5 per hour.

Housing case worker Tarn Evans says, "We work professionally and really hard.  There's a big range of pay rates and some of them are extremely low.

"It's going to make a massive difference to a lot of people."

Mental health workers will be receiving $173.5mil all up.  The funding will be implemented over five years.  

E Tū union delegate Leon Tunoho says, "This means actually a whole lot of acknowledgement for the mahi that's been put in over the years and that hasn't really been acknowledged."

It is hoped the new pay scale will reflect workers' qualifications and experience.

Payments will be backdated to 1 July 2017.