Pay parity opt-in scheme
Information for education and care services and hospital-based services about the pay parity opt-in scheme.
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What is the pay parity opt-in scheme?
The pay parity opt-in scheme seeks to address the disparity in pay between certificated teachers working in education and care services and hospital-based services, and their equivalents in kindergartens.
The scheme provides higher funding rates to education and care services and hospital-based services who pay all employed certificated teachers at least the salary amounts described in the ECE Funding Handbook(external link).
A separate review of the early learning funding system is underway to identify and implement an approach that better aligns funding with certificated teacher salary costs under pay parity. Find out more about the Early Learning pay parity consultation.
Who is covered by the pay parity opt-in scheme?
Certificated teachers working in education and care services and hospital-based services that have opted-in to pay parity funding rates are covered. The pay parity opt-in scheme does not include certificated teachers working in home-based services, Playcentres or whānau-led kōhanga reo.
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:
- a NZ early childhood or primary teaching qualification, or
- an overseas qualification assessed by NZQA as being comparable to a NZ early childhood or primary teaching qualification or
- an ECE or primary endorsement from the Teaching Council when obtaining your certification through the discretionary pathway.
How do education and care services and hospital-based services opt-in?
Education and care services and hospital-based services can opt-in to the pay parity scheme using the Attestation of Certificated Teachers’ Salary section of the RS7 return. Instructions on how to complete the attestation can be found in Chapter 9-6(external link) of the ECE Funding Handbook.
Using the RS7 return, a service can attest to which salary steps of the minimum salary scale they have paid their certificated teachers for that period of the RS7 return. More information about the minimum salary scale can be found in Chapter 3-B-2(external link) of the ECE Funding Handbook. These are summarised below:
Corresponding salary steps a service must pay
Base funding rates
At least Step 1 of the salary scale
Parity funding rates
At least Steps 1-6 of the salary scale
Extended parity funding rates
At least Steps 1 – 11 and the management salary step
*Note a further set of opt-in rates (“full parity funding rates”) will be available from 1 November 2023. More information on these rates and their minimum salary scale can be found in Budget 2023: A major focus on early childhood education.
Services that do not opt-in to the pay parity scheme are paid at the lowest level of funding.
Services can update their pay parity opt-in status using their RS7 return, should their circumstances change. For queries about the opt-in process or funding, contact ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz
How are teacher pay steps determined?
The Ministry of Education is unable to provide specific advice on the pay steps for your certificated teachers.
A teacher’s initial salary step should be determined by:
- their applicable qualification group (highest qualification held), and
- any service recognised for salary purposes, and
- any previous relevant work experience.
Requirements for these three factors are set out in the ECE Funding Handbook, Chapter 3-B-2(external link).
This template(external link) may also be useful to support the process of determining a teacher’s initial pay step.
Please note any disputes regarding teacher pay steps is an employment relation matter between the teacher and their employer. The Ministry is unable to intervene in employment matters.
For further queries about teacher pay steps, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What records need to be kept?
A services’ attestation results will be verified during an audit by the Ministry. This involves confirming that each employed certificated teacher was paid at least at the required salary 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, and
- information to support how the teacher’s initial and current salary rate was determined, and
- records to confirm salary or wage levels.
Specific requirements are outlined in the ECE Funding Handbook, Chapter 3-B-2(external link).
Frequent questions and answers about the pay parity opt-in scheme
See the most common questions and answers about the pay parity opt-in scheme:
FAQ: Opting in and out of the pay parity scheme
FAQ: Assessing teacher pay step
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