I'm a primary teacher
Find out about the pay, allowances, benefits and other entitlements available to primary teachers.
- Employment agreements
- Your pay
- Pay rises
- Other benefits and entitlements
- Working when school is closed
- Leaving your job
- Further information
Primary teachers in state and state-integrated schools and kura are covered by the terms and conditions of:
- the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement (PTCA), or
- an individual employment agreement, with similar terms and conditions as the PTCA.
Who's covered by the PTCA
You're covered by the PTCA if:
- your work is covered by this agreement and
- you’re a member of the primary teachers’ union, the New Zealand Educational Institute – Te Riu Roa (NZEI Te Riu Roa).
Who’s covered by the individual employment agreement (IEA)
You need to sign an IEA if:
- your work is covered by the PTCA, but
- you’re not a member of the NZEI Te Riu Roa.
The Ministry of Education develops and publishes the IEA. The terms and conditions of your work are similar to the collective agreement.
- Primary Teachers' Individual Employment Agreement [PDF, 24 KB]
- Primary Teacher Fixed-Term (Reliever) Individual Employment Agreement [PDF, 28 KB]
If you’re a teacher at Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu, check your employment agreement as there are some special employment conditions that apply to you, as set out in Part 8 of the collective agreement.
For information about your pay refer to Part 3 of the collective agreement.
Your base salary
The amount you can be paid as a teacher depends on your qualifications, experience and whether you qualify for any units or allowances.
There are 6 salary Groups for trained teachers, each with a minimum and a maximum salary. Your salary Group depends on your qualifications.
The first 2 salary Groups don’t apply to current New Zealand graduates. They may apply to teachers who started teaching when a diploma was the only entry requirement.
New Zealand initial primary teacher education now requires (at a minimum) the completion of:
- a teaching qualification at Level 7 (for example, Bachelor of Teaching), or
- an undergraduate subject degree followed by a graduate diploma of teaching (for example, BA plus Graduate Diploma Teaching).
Therefore all new New Zealand primary teacher graduates will, at a minimum, start at salary Group 3.
|Salary group||Starting salary||Maximum salary||NQF* level||Example of qualification|
|1||$36,692||$59,621||5||Diploma of Teaching (Note: no longer applicable to new New Zealand trained primary teachers)|
|2||$39,513||$63,929||6||Higher Diploma of Teaching or 2/3 degree (except a three year ITE degree) (Note: no longer applicable to new New Zealand trained primary teachers)|
|3||$47,980||$71,891||7||Bachelor of Teaching|
|3+||$49,588||$75,949||7||Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma of Teaching|
|4||$51,508||$75,949||8||Honours Degree or Masters of Teaching|
|5||$54,330||$75,949||9 or 10||Master's or PhD|
*NQF = National Qualifications Framework
Most trained primary teachers enter the salary scale at Group 3 or Group 3+.
You can earn more than your maximum salary step if you're entitled to units or allowances.
If you're in salary Group 1 or 2, you can move above your maximum, up to the Group 3 maximum, if you've been allocated permanent units.
Your pay scale is slightly different if you're a:
- resource teacher learning and behaviour
- resource teacher deaf
- resource teacher vision
- resource teacher intellectually impaired, or
- regional health school teacher.
The pay scale is set out in clause 3.1.7 of the collective agreement.
An increment is the pay rise you get when you move up a step on your base salary scale. This is on top of base salary increases negotiated through the collective agreement bargaining process.
You'll most likely move up 1 salary step each year until you reach the maximum salary step for your qualification.
Here’s how the increment process works
You're assessed by your board of trustees or principal against the performance standards in schedule 3 of your employment agreement.
If you've met the standards, you move up a salary step on the scale.
If you haven't met the standards, you're given a specific time to do so.
If you haven't met the standards after this time, you don’t move up a salary step. In some cases, competency procedures will be needed.
The following table shows the increments on the salary scale for trained primary teachers. Your starting salary and maximum depend on which salary group you're in.
|Step||Base salary||Increment between steps (%)||Increment between steps ($)|
As well as general salary funding, schools receive a certain amount for ‘units’. Boards can allocate units as a permanent or fixed-term addition to a teacher’s salary. Each unit is worth $4,000 per annum as set out in clause 3.10 of the collective agreement.
If you're a teacher at Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu read clause 8.4 of the collective agreement.
You may also qualify for allowances as follows:
You may also qualify for other allowances, such as:
- higher duties
- relieving principal
- special duties, and
- bus controller.
These are set out in clause 3.11 of the collective agreement.
If you’re a teacher at Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu refer to clauses 8.6 and 8.7 of the collective agreement for more information about off-site allowances and travelling allowances.
Recruitment, retention and responsibility (3R) allowance
Your school board may pay you a 3R allowance to recognise an extra responsibility that you take on, or to achieve recruitment or retention goals. Boards need to consult with teaching staff about the allocation of these payments.
The 3R payment is $2,750 per annum for primary teachers and can be paid permanently or for a fixed term, as set out in clause 3.26 of the collective agreement.
Braille or New Zealand Sign Language allowance
If you’re a full-time teacher at an eligible school, you may be entitled to an allowance that recognises your qualifications and abilities in teaching using New Zealand Sign Language or Braille. Current eligible schools (school numbers) are:
- Kelston Deaf Education Centre (503)
- Van Asch Deaf Education Centre (519)
- Blind and Low Vision Education Network of New Zealand (BLENNZ, 4156).
This allowance is set out in clause 3.29 of the collective agreement.
Tutor teacher allowance
If you’re a fully registered teacher and you‘re mentoring a provisionally registered first or second year teacher, you can be paid a tutor teacher allowance. The amount is either $4,000 per annum or $1,000 per annum, depending on the number of hours that the provisionally registered teacher is employed each week, as set out in clause 3.27 of the collective agreement.
Leave entitlements, including sick, parental, bereavement (tangihanga), study, refreshment and sabbatical leave are set out in Part 4 of the collective agreement. Your school can also allow discretionary leave for various activities.
You’re entitled to a superannuation contribution from your employer.
You're entitled to 10 hours’ classroom release time each term. Your school will have a policy that sets out how this time is allocated among teachers throughout the term.
If you move schools because you’re promoted, or you move to work in a ‘hard to staff’ school, you may qualify for a payment to help cover your transfer and removal payment to help cover your costs.
You may be required to work at times when the school is closed to students:
- for professional development, or
- duties such as administration, preparation, planning, and parent, whānau and community liaison.
Your employment agreement sets a maximum of 10 days in a school year when you can work when the school is closed, as set out in clause 2.10.3 of the collective agreement.
When your board asks you to work on a closed day, they must take into account whether you've already undertaken professional development or carried out various tasks in your own time.
Both you and your school must follow the correct processes and procedures to manage your resignation, dismissal or retirement.
Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback