Circular 2020/03 - Settlement of the Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement and new Individual Employment Agreement

Date 28 May 2020 | Circular 2020/03 | Category Employment Relations

This circular is about the details of the recent settlement of the Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement. It also includes information on an Individual Employment Agreement.

This circular does not replace any other.

The action needed is to note the contents of the circular and complete the requirements concerning Individual Employment Agreements, if applicable.

It is intended for Chairpersons of boards of trustees and principals of all state and state-integrated secondary or area schools.

For more information contact the New Zealand School Trustees Association about human resource issues generally on 0800 782 435. Email the Ministry of Education's Employment Relations Unit: All collective agreements for school staff can be found on the Ministry's website:


On 12 May 2020, a collective agreement covering school groundstaff employed in secondary and area schools was settled, and the settlement was ratified by members of the Amalgamated Workers’ Union of New Zealand (AWUNZ) on 22 May 2020.

This circular provides a summary of the changes and new provisions agreed in this settlement. The full collective agreement can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education’s website, and printed copies will be available from the New Zealand Schools Trustees Association (NZSTA).

Please note – schools have received their annual increases to operation grant funding of 1.6% for 2019 and 1.8% for 2020. Additional funding that reflects the increased rates in the collective agreements has been provided to boards in their quarterly operational funding payments.

Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

A term of 26 months has been agreed, from 11 December 2019 to 11 February 2022.

A standard hourly rate of $21.15 for all categories of groundstaff effective from 11 December 2019, and a further increase to $21.78 for all categories of groundstaff effective from 11 December 2020.

The new rates subsume the previous service allowance and qualifications payments, which are no longer part of the collective agreement.

Family Violence Leave:
A new clause reflecting the legislation provided in the Holidays Act 2003 has been added.

Individual Employment Agreement (IEA)

Employees who are not union members but whose work could fall within the respective coverage clause of the relevant collective agreement may be offered the newly promulgated IEA to access the applicable terms and conditions of the renegotiated collective agreement.

The Secretary for Education has promulgated a new IEA so those employees who are not union members will need to sign the new IEA to access the new terms and conditions (including the increased pay rates).

The IEA is only valid if both the employer and the employee sign it, and not before the date of promulgation, 2 June 2020.

Employers are required to inform new employees that a collective agreement exists and provide them with a copy of the agreement, as well as information regarding how to contact and join the relevant union. New employees who are not members of the union must be employed on an IEA based on the applicable collective agreement for the first 30 days of employment, after which they can choose to remain on the IEA or join the applicable union and become bound by the collective agreement.

Please note that if the Board and the employee do not sign the new IEA then the new provisions will not apply. Pay rates and other provisions will remain the same as provided for in the now expired collective agreement.

In the event a Board has concerns and/or questions regarding its employment arrangements with individual employees, the Board should contact the NZSTA or seek independent advice.

Issued by

Mark Williamson, Senior Manager Employment Relations and Pay Equity, Education Workforce, Early Learning and Student Achievement
Ministry of Education, National Office, Mātauranga House, 33 Bowen Street, Wellington 6011
PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140, New Zealand, Phone 04-463 8000, Email

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