Pay parity opt-in scheme
Information for education and care services and hospital-based services about the pay parity opt-in scheme
|Level of compliance||Main audience||Other|
- What is the pay parity opt-in scheme?
- How does pay parity work?
- Who can access higher funding rates under the pay parity opt-in scheme
- How do services opt in to pay parity?
- How to move to full parity if you're not already on extended parity
- How is a teacher’s initial salary step determined under pay parity?
- Resources to help you determine the correct salary step
- Frequently asked questions
The pay parity opt-in scheme seeks to address the disparity in pay between certificated teachers working in education and care services and their counterparts working in kindergartens.
Data from the 2020 (kindergarten data) and 2021 (education and care service data) staffing surveys showed that certificated teachers in education and care services received about $22,000 less than equivalent teachers in a kindergarten.
The scheme provides higher funding rates to education and care services that attest to paying their certificated teachers at least the salary amounts described in Appendix 4 of the Funding Handbook.
The salary amounts in the Funding Handbook align with the Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement (KTCA). The KTCA has 11 steps for teachers and 3 management steps.
4 opt-in funding rates are available to services. Services that do not opt in to the pay parity scheme have less funding available.
Education and care services that have opted in to pay parity can access the higher funding rates. The scheme does not cover home-based services, playcentres or whānau-led kōhanga reo.
For pay parity purposes, certificated teachers 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.
Teachers in management roles
Certificated teachers in a management role can be covered by pay parity, regardless of their qualifications or teaching experience.
Education and care services can opt in to the pay parity scheme using the 'attestation of certificated teachers’ salary' section of the RS7 return.
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 funding period.
|Funding rates available*||Corresponding salary steps a service must pay|
|Base salary scale||At least step 1 of the salary scale|
|Parity salary scale||At least steps 1 to 6 of the salary scale|
|Extended parity salary scale||At least steps 1 to 11 and management salary step
(Steps 7 to 11 and the management step are partial steps)
|Full parity salary scale||Steps 1-11 and 3 management steps|
Services can also update their pay parity opt-in status using their RS7 return, should their circumstances change, except in the situation described below.
If you wish to move to full parity but are not already on extended parity you will need to complete an EC20a form and send it to the Ministry.
This move cannot be completed using the RS7.
For queries about the opt-in process or funding, contact ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz.
A certificated teacher’s initial salary step is largely determined by:
- their applicable qualification group (that is, the highest qualification held), and
- any 'recognised service' they may have, and
- any previous relevant work experience.
The Ministry of Education is unable to provide advice on the appropriate pay steps for individual certificated teachers but the resources below are available.
Please note, any dispute regarding a teacher’s salary step is an employment 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 for pay parity purposes?
A service’s pay parity attestations will be verified via a Ministry audit. The audit will confirm 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
- information to support how the teacher’s initial and current salary rate was determined, and
- records to confirm salary or wage levels.
For queries about the opt-in process contact email@example.com.
FAQ: Opting in and out of the pay parity scheme
Can services only opt in at the next founding round, or can they opt in at any point?
Services can opt-in when attesting to pay parity in their RS7 return at any funding round.
Services need to ensure they pay teachers correctly for the period they have opted into. For example, if you attest to the pay parity opt-in scheme in the February RS7 return, you will need to ensure your teachers are correctly paid at the right level from October to January.
RS7 OPEN DATE
RS7 CLOSE DATE
FIRST PAY DATE
Previous October to January
Previous February to May
Previous June to September
Can I change my opt-in response once I have submitted my RS7 return?
Services who wish to update their opt-in response can resubmit their RS7 return. Resubmissions can be made for the current funding period through the service’s student management system (SMS) or ELI Web.
Any changes to a service’s funding will be processed for the next available payment date.
Services should contact firstname.lastname@example.org if they wish to submit an RS7 return after the electronic submission deadline.
Can I opt out?
Services can opt out by updating their pay parity status using their RS7 return should their circumstances change.
FAQ: Assessing teacher salary steps
Do overseas qualifications count towards pay steps?
If the international qualification is recognised by the NZQA as equivalent to a NZ qualification, then the teacher should be paid based on that NZ qualification (and their experience).
Do teacher qualifications need to be related to teaching or education to count?
All certificated teachers must hold a recognised ECE or primary teaching qualification and a current practising certificate issued by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.
In addition to this, they may hold qualifications which are not directly related to teaching or education. All qualifications need to be considered, even if they are not directly related to teaching.
Does relief teaching count towards recognised service?
For recognised service, time spent as a relief teacher can be counted for salary purposes where the certificated teacher was employed in a New Zealand licensed early childhood centre or a state or state-integrated school (including kaupapa Māori).
Does overseas teaching experience count towards recognised teaching service?
Only teaching experience in NZ as a certificated teacher can be counted as recognised service.
Teaching experience overseas may be considered as ‘previous relevant work experience’ if your previous role applied skills that are relevant to the position offered. Any hours recognised as ‘previous relevant work experience’ must be agreed by the teacher and their employer.
What happens if a teacher cannot provide evidence of teaching service from a previous employer?
Evidence of the factors used to determine a certificated teacher’s initial salary step should be provided by the teacher to the satisfaction of their employer.
In a situation where a teacher is unable to provide evidence, the employer can work with the teacher to determine what information they can obtain and how this will be used to determine their initial salary step.
When a teacher takes leave, is that counted towards recognised service for pay parity purposes?
The following types of leave need to be counted as recognised service for pay parity purposes:
- annual leave
- sick leave
- bereavement leave, and
- statutory holidays.
Decisions about other types of leave (for example, unpaid leave, parental leave, ACC) are at the discretion of the service.
What previous relevant work experience can I count towards the pay step assessment?
Previous relevant work experience can be any experience that the teacher and employer agree is relevant to the teaching role they are in.
Does experience in home-based settings count?
Coordinator (or visiting teacher) experience in home-based settings does not count as recognised service in the pay parity opt-in scheme. However, it can count as previous relevant work experience.
FAQ: Paying teachers
Does opting-in mean a service has to offer the full terms and conditions of the Kindergarten Teachers, Senior Teachers and Head Teachers Collective Agreement (KTCA)?
Pay parity requires payment of a minimum salary scale but does not require a service to offer all the terms and conditions of the KTCA (for example, specified amounts of leave or non-contact time).
What does opting-in mean for services that are already party to a collective agreement?
Services that opt in to the pay parity scheme are still free to offer additional terms and conditions or be party to collective agreements. However, they must pay at least the minimum salary steps detailed in the salary scale that they have opted in to.
Are relievers covered?
Certificated relievers are covered. The attestation requirement covers all employed certificated teachers, including 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 the service to show teachers are, or have been, paid at the correct level.
If a service has more teachers than needed to meet regulated ratios, do all of them have to be 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 pay parity, 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. Certificated teachers who are employed to work in a management role are also covered for services who opt-in to the Extended or (from 1 November 2023) Extended Parity Plus funding rates.
Can a service claim the higher funding 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, even if the service is still working through contractual arrangements it can still opt-in. However, it needs to ensure all employed certificated teachers are back 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).
Can a service pay certificated teachers more than the salary scale amount?
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.
Are certificated teachers who trained overseas paid the same as NZ trained teachers?
If the international qualification is recognised by NZQA as equivalent to a NZ qualification, the teacher should be paid based on that NZ qualification.
How do services convert the minimum salary amount into an hourly rate?
An indicative hourly rate can be found by dividing the salary amount by 2,080.
The salary amounts reflect 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 could be applied.
Do services need to back pay certificated teachers for the full attestation period?
Yes, services need to pay for the full attestation period. For example, if services opt-in in their February RS7 return, and they have not already paid their staff at least the pay step they agree on, they will need to back pay the staff for the full period (i.e. the previous October to January).
FAQ from teachers
I can’t get evidence of previous work experience because my ex-employer has closed down. What can I do?
As a teacher, it is up to you to provide evidence to the satisfaction of your employer of any factors used to determine your initial salary step.
If you are unable to provide evidence, it is at the discretion of your employer whether they take this into account when determining your initial pay step.
Please note, any disputes regarding pay steps is an employment relation matter between you and your employer. The Ministry is unable to intervene in employment matters.
I don’t agree with the salary step my employer has put me on. Can the Ministry help me?
Any disputes regarding pay steps are an employment relation matter between you and your employer. The Ministry is unable to intervene in employment matters.
You may need to seek independent employment advice.
How do I know if my service is offering pay parity?
The Ministry regularly publishes a list of services that have attested to receive pay parity funding rates for each period.
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