Attestation salary levels

Information for centre-based early learning services about minimum salary levels for certificated teachers, how they relate to your eligibility for higher funding, and how to attest them.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Centre-based Early Learning Services
  • All Early Learning Services

To be eligible for higher levels of funding, you must adhere to minimum salary levels for all certificated teachers under your employment, and attest this on the RS7 funding return.


The information on this page should be read in conjunction with the ECE Funding Handbook(external link), which is the authority for the funding rates and associated conditions relating to teacher pay parity. It replaces material about the pay parity Budget 2021 initiative, which had been set out on the Ministry’s website in May 2021.

Higher funding rates for teacher-led centre-based services are only available to services that agree to pay all primary and ECE qualified and certificated teachers employed by their service at or above certain minimum salary levels.

The pay parity scheme covers all certificated teachers employed to work in hospital-based and education and care services. Higher funding rates are available for services agreeing to pay all employed certificated teachers at or above certain defined minimum salary levels.

The introduction of the parity funding rates is to move teachers in education and care services, including hospital-based services, towards pay parity with kindergarten teachers. To receive the parity funding rates, services must pay teachers on a salary scale that matches the first five base teacher pay steps of the Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers and Senior Teachers’ Collective Agreement. Pay step 6 will be required to be paid by services that opt-in to the parity rates from 1 January 2023.

Service providers may choose to opt-in to these new funding rates through an extension of the existing salary attestation process.

How does attestation work?

There is one set of funding rates for those agreeing to pay all employed certificated teachers at or above Step 1 of the salary scale. These rates are known as base rates.

Those paying in accordance with the full five step salary scale and associated conditions will be eligible for higher parity rates. If a service provider does not attest to one of these options, then they will be funded at the lowest level of the base rates (0-24% funding band).

The funding rates are set out in Appendix 1 of the ECE Funding Handbook(external link).

Service providers attest as to which rates they will pay their teachers, when they submit their RS7 funding return. This happens three times per year; in February, June, and October.

The attestation relates to the washup months of the funding period. For example, in June 2022 the RS7 Return will contain an attestation for the period February-May 2022. Both washup and advance portion will be paid according to this attestation (either base or parity rates).

The Ministry will regularly publish a list of services that have attested to receive the parity rates for each period.

Which teachers are covered?

To be considered a certificated teacher for funding purposes, the teacher must hold a current practising certificate issued by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. They must also have:

  1. a NZ early childhood or primary teaching qualification, or
  2. an overseas qualification assessed by NZQA as being comparable to a NZ early childhood or primary teaching qualification or
  3. an ECE or primary endorsement from the Teaching Council when obtaining your certification through the discretionary pathway.

Services opting in to the parity rates must also pay the required salary scale to all employed teachers that meet the qualification requirements outlined above. This includes fixed term, casual, or relief staff, engaged under a contract of service.

Certificated teachers working in home-based services, Playcentres or whanau-led kōhanga reo are not covered. There are no opt-in rates for these types of early learning services.

How do you know how much a teacher should be paid?

What step a teacher enters the pay scale on depends on the combination of three factors:

  • their highest qualification (search for the level of qualifications on the NZQA website(external link)),
  • their service history, and
  • any previous relevant work experience.

Requirements for these three factors are set out in the Funding Handbook, Chapter 3-B-2.

The amounts set out in the salary scale are minimums. Service providers and teachers are free to negotiate higher levels of remuneration if they wish.

The salary amounts are for a full-time year of work consisting of a 40 hour week for 52 weeks. For teachers that are contracted to generally work more or less than 40 hours a week, an hourly rate applies. The indicative hourly rate can be found by dividing the salary amount by 2080. The Funding Handbook sets out other conditions relating to the treatment of Kiwisaver employer contributions and other benefits in the salary calculation.

The Funding Handbook also sets out conditions around how teachers are able to progress up the salary scale.

Chapter 3-B-2 - ECE Funding Handbook

Record-keeping requirements

A services’ attestation results will be verified during an audit by the Ministry. We will be confirming that each employed certificated teacher was paid at least at the required level. Services must therefore maintain information to assist with verification.

This information will include:

  • copies of qualifications and current practising certificates already required to be held,
  • information to support how the teacher’s initial and current salary scale was determined, and
  • records to confirm salary or wage levels.

Specific requirements are outlined in Chapter 11 of the ECE Funding Handbook.

Some questions and answers about pay parity

Does opting in to the parity rates mean a service has to offer the full terms and conditions of the Kindergarten Teachers, Senior Teachers and Head Teachers Collective Agreement (KTCA)?

No. However, there are conditions required to be met in order to receive parity rates that draw on several of the KTCA’s terms and conditions. These only relate to the salary steps. These conditions are outlined in the Funding Handbook.

Services do not need to offer other provisions of the KTCA, such as a specified amount of leave or non-contact time, in order to be eligible for parity rates.

When does a service need to opt in to get the parity rates?

A service provider has the opportunity to attest which rates they are paying when submitting their RS7 funding return. This means they can opt-in, or opt-out, three times each year (usually February, June, and October).

The attestation relates to the washup months of the funding period. For example, in June 2022 the RS7 Return submitted will contain an attestation for the period February-May 2022.

Both washup and advance funding portions will be paid according to this attestation (either base or parity rates). A service must be paying the attested rates for the entire wash-up period to be eligible and cannot change funding rates on a month-by-month basis.

*Note the process will be slightly different for the first attestation. Services that opt-in to parity rates through their October 2021 RS7 Return will be attesting in advance to paying the full salary scale from 1 January 2022 (this attestation does not apply to the entire funding period). Similarly, in the March 2022 funding payment, the attestation of parity rates applies only to January 2022.

What does the opt-in arrangement mean for services that are already party to a collective agreement?

Services are still free to offer additional terms and conditions, or be party to collective agreements, if they opt-in to the parity rates. The attestation opt-in requires payment of a minimum salary scale but does not require a service to offer all the terms and conditions of the KTCA.

If a service has more teachers than needed to meet regulated ratios, do all of them have to paid at this level or only the ones that count towards the Staff Hour Count in the funding claim?

When a service opts in to the parity funding rates, they are agreeing to pay all employed certificated teachers in accordance with the salary scales set out in the ECE Funding Handbook. The requirement is not limited only to certificated teachers counted for regulated ratio purposes.

The requirement covers all employed certificated teachers, regardless of the role they are fulfilling in a centre. This means certificated teachers in a non-teaching or part-teaching role, such as centre manager, must also be paid at least the attested salary level.

Are relievers covered?

Yes. The attestation requirement covers all employed certificated teachers, and could include permanent, fixed term or casual staff. Where the employment relationship is not directly between the service and teacher, for example if relievers are engaged through an agency, service providers should ensure there is an agreement in place that enables them to show they are, or have been, paid at the appropriate level.

Can a service claim the parity rates if it is still in the process of agreeing placement on the pay scales with teachers during the course of the funding period?

Yes, if you’re still working through contractual arrangements you can attest as long as all employed certificated teachers are back paid to ensure they are paid in accordance with the salary scale from the beginning of the funding period, or their start date (if they have not been employed for the entire period).

(This is most relevant for the first opt-in opportunity in October 2021, in which services will attest to paying the full salary scale in the Funding Handbook from 1 January 2022 in order to receive advanced funding in November 2021 at the higher parity rates.)

What is the change coming on 1 January 2023?

From this date, services that are opted in to the parity rates will need to pay all employed certificated teachers based on the first 6 steps of the KTCA (only the first 5 steps are required from 1 January 2022).

The salary for those on pay step 6 is $65,776.

Where to go for help

For general queries on the pay parity scheme, contact

For further information or guidance about teacher registration and certification, you can contact the Teaching Council:

Website: Teaching Council(external link)

For teachers who require evidence of their registration date, you can email, You will need to confirm the following information in your email:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • registration number

To search for your qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, go to the NZQA page.

Qualifications - Advanced Search - NZQA website(external link)

For information on employment matters, you can go to the Employment New Zealand website.

Employment New Zealand website(external link)

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