The government yesterday formalised a pay equity settlement with around 5000 mental health and addiction support workers.

Health Minister David Clark says more than half of them will get at least a $3 per hour increase.   

Clark says the workers have been undervalued, and the settlement is about paying them what they're worth.

The $173 million deal will be spread out over the next five years.

The new pay scale reflects workers' qualifications and experience and will be back-dated to 1 July 2017.

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