Historic pay equity settlement for teacher aides

The Ministry of Education and New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa have agreed to settle the pay equity claim for teacher aides, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced on Thursday.

This will see more than 22,000 teacher aides, mostly women, being valued and paid fairly for the work they do.

“Teacher aides are frontline workers who work closely with some of our most vulnerable children. They play an important role in our schools as we respond to the challenges of Covid-19 and get the country back on its feet,” Hipkins said.

“The teacher aide pay equity claim was lodged in 2016, and I’m pleased that an agreement has now been reached. This is a milestone for teacher aides and a significant step towards addressing pay equity for women in the education sector.

Photo: teacheraidemodules.org

The new rates will range from $21.20 to $34.68 per hour, and be effective from 12 February 2020.

“The Coalition Government recognises the vital role teacher aides play in schools and we have been focused on making sure that we do a good job for them.

“Details of the settlement will be widely communicated to all teacher aides before NZEI members vote on it.  The settlement, if accepted, will acknowledge the value of the skills, responsibilities and demands of teacher aide work,” Hipkins said.

The settlement costs $348 million over the next five years.

Schools will receive the additional funds in October 2020 and teacher aides will receive the new pay equity rates by November, backdated to 12 February 2020.

  • The Ministry, working alongside NZEI Te Riu Roa and the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), completed an 18 month investigation last year to confirm that teacher aides – who are mostly women – are being paid less than men for doing work that is different but of equal value. They worked together on this detailed and complex pay equity claim, following the State Services Commission’s Pay Equity Principles to achieve an outcome that is fair and sustainable.
  • Teacher aides who perform tiaki duties (assisting children soiled with bodily fluids) on a regular basis will also receive an extra $2.60 per hour on top of their hourly rate, while those who perform these duties occasionally will see their allowance increased from $3.85 to $4.81 if the work is performed on that day.
  • Teacher aides who aren’t union members will receive the pay equity rates by signing a new Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) once it is published, or by joining NZEI Te Riu Roa.
  • In addition to the pay correction, teacher aides will have more certainty around the hours they work, and professional learning and development (PLD) opportunities for teacher aides will also be more readily available.
  • The offer also increases the $0.79 million PLD fund agreed as part of the Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement settled at the end of last year to $2.29 million.