Ground staff at a secondary or area school

If you work at an area or secondary school looking after the school grounds, including sports fields, gardens and other outdoor facilities, then you're ground staff. You might be called a senior groundskeeper, groundskeeper, assistant groundskeeper or grounds labourer.

Employment agreements

Ground staff in state and state-integrated schools and kura are covered by the terms and conditions of:

  • the Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement, or
  • an individual employment agreement (IEA), with similar terms and conditions to the collective agreement.

Who's covered by the collective agreement

You're covered by the collective agreement if:

  • your work is covered by this agreement, and
  • you’re a member of the Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand Southern Incorporated, the Northern Amalgamated Workers Union Inc, or the Central Amalgamated Workers Union Inc.

Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement 2017-2019

Who's covered by the individual employment agreement(IEA)

You need to sign an IEA if:

  • your work is covered by the collective agreement, but
  • you're not a member of one of the unions.

Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Individual Employment Agreement [PDF, 15 KB]

Varying the employment conditions for caretakers, cleaners, canteen staff and ground staff

You may be able to negotiate with your school board to have some different terms and conditions from those in your employment agreement. For example, you may agree to be paid a set weekly figure with an amount included to cover various allowances that would be paid irregularly. This is usually done to simplify your package of pay and allowances. 

Your employer can’t use this process to negotiate terms that disadvantage you or provide you with lesser conditions than the collective agreement.

Before negotiating different terms with your employer check clause 1.4.2 of the collective agreement.

Clause 1.4.2 - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

It’s important that any variation in the terms and conditions of your agreement is properly recorded and signed by you, your union representative and a board representative. If you only have a verbal agreement with your employer, put it in writing as soon as possible.

Make sure the variation agreement clearly states the individual components of your pay package.

The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) provides guidelines and a template you can download and use to record variations to the terms of your employment agreement.

Secondary and area school groundstaff – NZSTA website (external link)

Your pay

For information about your pay refer to clause 3.2 of the collective agreement.

How much you're paid depends on whether you're a senior groundskeeper, groundskeeper, assistant groundskeeper or grounds labourer, as set out in clause 3.2.

Clause 3.2 - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement 

You're a senior groundskeeper if:

  • you're in charge of other workers, or
  • you're a sole charge groundskeeper but you also are able to do maintenance that would normally be done by a registered or qualified tradesperson.

You're a groundskeeper if you work on your own taking care of the school grounds.

You're an assistant groundskeeper if you work under a senior groundskeeper.

You're a grounds labourer if the work you do doesn’t require much knowledge or experience and you aren’t assigned responsibility for tasks.

Your minimum hourly pay rate is:

  • grounds labourer – $15.99
  • assistant groundskeeper – $16.49
  • groundskeeper – $16.79
  • senior groundskeeper – $18.20.

Your school board can offer to pay you more than this.

If you work part-time (less than 40 hours a week), you're paid at an hourly rate of one-fortieth (1/40) of the full-time weekly rate.

If you do a job that's paid at a higher rate, you'll be paid at that higher rate for the time you do the work – for example, if you're an assistant groundskeeper and you do the senior groundskeeper's job while they're away.

Pay increases

You can get a pay increase of $0.15 cents an hour after 3 years’ employment, and $0.26 cents an hour after 5 years’ employment as set out in clause 3.3 of the collective agreement.

Clause 3.3 - Secondary and Area School Collective Agreement

You'll get a pay increase if you achieve one of the qualifications listed in clause 3.4.4 of the collective agreement. The extra pay is shown in clause 3.4.1.

Clause 3.4.4 - Secondary and Area School Collective Agreement 

Allowances

Allowances are set out in clause 3.5 of the collective agreement.

Clause 3.5 - Secondary and Area School Collective Agreement

These may include an allowance for:

  • looking after a swimming pool ($4.50 a day)
  • holding a first aid certificate ($0.35 cents an hour)
  • transport (if you have to use your own car for school business – $0.59 cents per kilometre).

Leave

Leave entitlements are set out in Part 5 of the collective agreement.

Part 5 - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

Annual leave and long service leave

You get 4 weeks' annual leave each year and you must take this when the school is closed (not in term time). This is on top of the normal public holidays, which are paid days off. You also get Easter Tuesday as a paid day off in your first 10 years of service.

After 5 years’ continuous service your annual leave increases to 4 weeks and 3 days.

After 10 years’ continuous service your annual leave increases to 5 weeks but you must take Easter Tuesday as annual leave.

After 15 years’ continuous service you're entitled to long service leave. 

For more information refer to clause 5.3 of the collective agreement.

Clause 5.3 - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement 

Sick leave

A sick leave allocation of 7 days each year applies if you work full time, and 5 days a year if you work less than 5 days a week, as set out in clause 5.4 of the collective agreement. 

Clause 5.4 - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

You can use your sick leave to care for a sick family member (this is called domestic leave) as set out in clause 5.5.

Clause 5.5 - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

Other leave

You're entitled to bereavement/tangihanga leave, as set out in clause 5.6 of the collective agreement.

Clause 5.6 - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

Retirement leave is covered in Appendix B.

Appendix B - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement 

Parental leave

You're entitled to parental leave, as set out in the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987. It applies to a birth mother, their partner/spouse and people who adopt a child aged under 6.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 - NZ Legislation website (external link)

Parental leave covers 4 types of leave.

  • Maternity leave – mothers can get up to 18 weeks off work from around the time of birth or from the time you start caring for an adopted child.
  • Partner/paternity leave – if your partner has had a baby or you've adopted a child together, you can take up to 2 weeks off.
  • Extended leave – you may be able to extend your maternity leave for an extra 52 weeks.
  • Special leave – while you're pregnant, you can have up to 10 days’ pregnancy-related leave.

You need to apply to your employer before taking parental leave. The usual notice required is 3 months but this can be reduced in some circumstances, for example if an adoption is arranged in a short time. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website explains how to apply for parental leave.

Parental leave - MBIE website (external link)  

Parental leave payment

If you qualify for the parental leave payment, it's paid through Inland Revenue, so you need to apply for this payment and your school must confirm that you're entitled to parental leave. 

If you work part time, the MBIE website can help you work out your parental leave payment.

Parental leave payment - MBIE website (external link)  

Leaving your job

Both you and your employer must follow the correct processes and procedures to manage your resignation, dismissal or retirement.

Resignation, dismissal and retirement

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