Circular 2023/13 - Variation to the Primary Teachers' Collective Agreement 2023-2025

Date 9 November 2023 | Circular 2023/13 | Category Employment Relations

This circular is about the details of the recently agreed variation to the Primary Teachers Collective Agreement (PTCA) 2023-2025 and information on applicable Individual Employment Agreements.

This circular does not replace any other.

It is intended for Presiding Members of School Boards of all state and state-integrated primary, intermediate, restricted composite/middle and specialist schools.

For more information contact the New Zealand School Trustees Association about human resource issues generally on 0800 782 435. You can also email the Ministry of Education's Employment Relations Unit: if you have questions about the settlement or the new collective agreement. All collective agreements for school staff can be found on the Ministry's website:

The action needed is to:

  • Note the details of the variation, including the new rates of pay that are provided for teachers working in positions covered by the new collective agreement.
  • Note existing staff who have already signed the Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) promulgated on 14 August 2023 will be entitled to receive the benefits of the variation, without needing to sign a new IEA.


On 30 October 2023, the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement 2023-2025 was varied in agreement with NZEI Te Riu Roa. 

This circular provides a summary of the changes and new provisions agreed in the variation.  

The full collective agreement can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education’s website: and printed copies will be available from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA).

Key features of the settlement


The variation provides increases to the Unified Base Salary Scale effective from 3 July 2023 as follows: 

  • 3 July 2023: Increases to the unified base scale steps to match those of the Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement (ASTCA). An equalisation allowance will be paid to primary teachers employed on step 2 prior to the variation, who will translate to the new merged step 1 rate under the variation. This equalisation allowance will protect their current rate of $57,544 agreed in the PTCA 2023-2025 settlement until 2 April 2024. A transitional clause has been added at 3.2A of the PTCA to explain this.  
  • 3 April 2024: Increases to all unified base scale steps to match those of the ASTCA and Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement (STCA). 
  • 2 December 2024: Increases to all unified base scale steps to match those of the ASTCA and STCA. 

The amended base salary scale for trained primary teachers is printed below and linked here 

Step Qualification
Rates prior to
3 July 2023
Step Rates effective
3 July 2023
Rates effective
3 April 2024
Rates effective
2 December 2024
1 Q3E  $51,358  1 $56,757 $59,027 $61,329
2   $53,544
3 Q3+E $55,948 2 $59,948 $61,678 $64,083
4 Q4E $58,133 3 $62,133 $64,086 $66,586
5 Q5E $61,794 4 $65,794 $68,122 $70,779
6   $65,776 5 $69,776  $72,512 $75,340
7   $70,040 6 $74,243  $77,213 $80,224
8   $75,190 7 $79,702  $82,890 $86,123
9   $79,413 8 $84,178  $87,545 $90,960
10 Q3M $85,490 9 $90,620 $94,245 $97,920
11 Q3+M, Q4M, Q5M  $90,000 10 $95,400 $99,216 $103,086

Qualification Group Descriptors

The variation provides alignment of the salary qualification group descriptors in the PTCA with those outlined in the ASTCA and STCA.

The changes are:

  • to Q3 are to recognise that all registered teachers without a subject or specialist qualification enter the scale in Group 3 (noting that this group also includes teachers previously placed in Q1 and Q2).
  • to Q3+ to include circumstances when trade or vocational qualifications could be recognised.

Individual Employment Agreement (IEA)

Existing employees who are not members of NZEI TE Riu Roa do not need to sign a new IEA if they have already signed the IEA for primary teachers promulgated on 14 August 2023. These employees will automatically receive the benefits of the variation without needing to sign a new IEA.

New employees who are not members of NZEI Te Riu Roa but whose work could fall within the respective coverage clause of the relevant collective agreement may be offered the promulgated IEA to access the applicable terms and conditions of the renegotiated collective agreement.

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.

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

Issued by

Tim Tucker, Manager Employment Relations, Te Pou Ohumahi Mātauranga | Education Workforce
Ministry of Education, PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140, New Zealand, Phone 04-463 8000,


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