Circular 2023/01 - Settlement of the Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement 2022-2024 and new Individual Employment Agreements for Secondary Principals and Secondary and Area School Groundstaff

Date 14 February 2023 | Circular 2023/01 | Category Employment Relations

This circular is about the settlement of the Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement 2022-2024 (SPCA 2022-24) and information on applicable Individual Employment Agreements; and a new Individual Employment Agreement for Groundstaff.

This circular does not replace any other.

It is intended for Presiding members of School Boards and Principals of all state and state-integrated secondary schools (including both junior and senior high schools) and area schools.

For more information contact the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) about human resource issues generally on 0800 782 435 or email link). 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 actions needed are:

Secondary Principals

  • Note the details of this settlement, including the new rates of pay that are provided for secondary school principals covered by the new collective agreement.
  • Offer the new individual employment agreement (IEA) to existing employees who are not SPANZ or NZPPTA Te Wehengarua members but are working as secondary school principals covered by the new agreement. 
  • Where new employees opt for an individual employment agreement (IEA), ensure they are offered the updated IEA. Ensure you are using the latest letter of offer of employment template for new employees, available from NZSTA. 
  • Note the introduction of a $6,000 per annum tagged fund for professional coaching and support. 
  • Note the changes to the provisions for sabbaticals, secondments, sick leave and the removal of the requirement for mandatory performance agreements and annual appraisal. 

Secondary and Area School Groundstaff


On 21 December 2022, the collective agreement covering secondary school principals was settled. 

Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement 2022-2024 

On 10 February 2023 the agreement was ratified by members of Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand (SPANZ Union) and New Zealand Post Primary Teachers Association (NZPPTA) Te Wehengarua. The term of the agreement is 24 months from 1 December 2022 to 1 December 2024. 

This circular provides a summary of the major changes and new provisions agreed in this settlement.  

Key features of the settlement


New salary rates, providing a flat rate increase of $4,000 per annum, have been agreed, effective 1 December 2022.  From 1 December 2023 salary rates will increase by a further 3% per annum. 

U-Grade Roll size Current Rates
effective 20 August 2021
Rates effective
from 1 December 2022
Rates after 12 months
U1 & U2 1-100 $98,031 $102,031 $105,092
U3 101-150 $106,170 $110,170 $113,475
U4 151-300 $114,489 $118,489 $122,044
U5 301-500 $122,808 $126,808 $130,612
U6 501-675 $127,564 $131,564 $135,511
U7 676-850 $132,515 $136,515 $140,610
U8 851-1025 $137,468 $141,468 $145,712
U9 1026-1200 $140,835 $144,835 $149,180
U10 1201-1400 $144,201 $148,201 $152,647
U11 1401-1600 $149,114 $153,114 $157,707
U12 1601-1800 $154,028 $158,028 $162,769
U13 1801-2000 $158,621 $162,621 $167,500
U14 2001-2200 $163,216 $167,216 $172,232
U15 2201-2400 $167,237 $171,237 $176,374
U16 2400+ $171,260 $175,260 $180,518

These rates will be effective for employees who are SPANZ Union or NZPPTA Te Wehengarua members from 1 December 2022 and to employees on an Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) who sign the IEA before 31 March 2023.  Where the IEA is signed after 31 March 2023 it is effective from the date both parties have signed it. 

Education payroll will pay these rates no later than the end of May 2023. 

Equity Index payment

A principal in a school that falls within the top 40% of the equity index when it is calculated each year will receive a payment based on the equity index number of the school multiplied by nine. This payment will replace the decile-based component of each principal’s remuneration.  

Where a principal’s remuneration is reduced either in the transition from the previous decile-based payment to the Equity Index payment, or because the annual Equity Index review process results in their school falling below the Equity Index number (478) that entitles them to an Equity Index payment, their salary will be protected for a 24-month period from the start of the 2023 school year. 

Leadership in Youth Potential payment

The per student component of the Leadership in Youth Potential payment will be transitioned to the Equity Index and a per student payment provided, per annum, paid fortnightly for each year 11-15 student in place of the current per student payment detailed in clause 3.1.4 of the Collective.  

The per student rate for students in the highest 40% EQI schools will be $6.37 and for remaining schools it will be $4.24. 

Lump sum payments

A one-off $750 lump sum payment will be paid to members of SPANZ Union or NZPPTA Te Wehengarua. 

In addition, a $500 lump sum payment will be paid to all principals covered (whether bound by the SPCA or on the promulgated IEA) who are employed on 1 December 2023. 

Support for wellbeing 

An entitlement of $6,000 per annum is being introduced for each principal to access professional coaching and support from the beginning of Term 1, 2023 for the term of the collective agreement.  

It is expected the funds will be used in the school year that they are made available, except where there is written agreement to do otherwise. This fund will be held by school boards and will be accessed by principals for professional coaching and support in their leadership roles. 

The funding will be a tagged component of the school’s operating grant through the April funding drop. Principals will be required to submit an annual declaration to the Board no later than the last day of Term 4 regarding the use of the funds.

Boards’ wellbeing obligations

The new collective agreement will also affirm boards’ employer obligations regarding principal wellbeing. From 2023 boards will be required to consult with the principal on appropriate supports for their wellbeing in line with best practice. 


The application form for principals accessing sabbaticals will be streamlined - specifically the requirements around programme outline, time commitments and reporting requirements.  The changes will come into effect for the 2024 round of applications. 


Provisions have been included to ensure the process for principals temporarily working in sector roles outside of their schools is easier, more accessible, and does not disadvantage those undertaking this work.  

Clause 2.7 - Secondments 

Sick Leave  

Sick leave entitlements have been adjusted from 28 January 2024 to align with Holidays Act requirements.  

Clause 5.2 - Sick Leave 

Removal of mandatory performance agreements and appraisal 

It was agreed to update the wording of the Professional Leadership and Annual Performance Review section to reflect the new Professional Growth Cycle (PGC) for principals, tumuaki and ECE professional.  

The mandatory performance agreements and annual appraisal process are replaced with an expectation principals participate in an annual PGC.  The wording relating to a principal’s working relationship with the board is moved to Part Two of the collective agreement: 

Part Four - Professional Leadership and Growth 

Clause 2.8 - Working Relationship and Performance Matters 

The removal of mandatory performance agreements and annual appraisal does not limit a board’s ability to raise performance matters with a principal as and if it considers it warranted.

Secondary Principals' Individual Employment Agreement (IEA)

An Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) which provides the terms and conditions of the collective agreement, with all the necessary modifications applicable to an individual employment agreement, has been promulgated by the Secretary for Education on 14 February 2023, following the signing of the collective agreement. 

IEA for secondary principals(external link)

Where the IEA is signed before 31 March 2023, pay rates will be effective from 1 December 2022.  Where the IEA is signed after 31 March 2023, the pay rates will be effective from the date both parties have signed the new IEA.

The increased pay rates will be paid by EPL no later than the end of May 2023.

Schools will need to advise EPL that their principal has signed a new IEA by completing an EP22 form.

Area and Secondary School Groundstaff: New Individual Employment Agreement

We have promulgated a new Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) for board employed groundstaff in area and secondary schools:

Secondary and Area Groundstaff Individual Employment Agreement [PDF, 105 KB]

The Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement (SASGCA) expired on 11 February 2022. Since that date, the employees covered by it have been deemed by law to be on an Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) with the same terms and conditions as those in the expired collective agreement.   

The changes are:  

  • From 16 January 2023: a minimum rate of $23.70 (backdated to 16 January if IEA is signed by 6 April 2023)
  • From 1 December 2023: a minimum rate of $24.66
  • For all groundstaff employed as at 1 December 2023:  A lump sum of $500 (pro-rata for part-time and eligible casual staff)
  • Access to disregarded sick leave and updated sick leave and holiday provisions.  

Employers should offer the IEA to groundstaff, so that they can access new pay rates and terms and conditions. These rates will be effective from 16 January if it is signed no later than 6 April. If signed after 6 April, the new rates will be effective from the date the IEA is signed. Signing a new IEA will not affect union membership status for members of the Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand (AWUNZ).  

Schools will need to advise EPL that their employee has signed a new IEA by completing an EP22 form. The new rates will be implemented in Education Payroll Ltd (EPL) by the end of April 2023. Groundstaff will receive backpay from the relevant effective date. Until then, groundstaff will receive the minimum rates as set out in the expired 2019-2022 SASGCA. 

Ongoing funding will be provided to schools and kura to cover the increased cost of the Secondary and Area School Groundstaff remuneration. Funding will be paid as part of the operational grant instalments. The first instalment is scheduled for 1 July 2023 and funding will be estimated using 2022 payroll information. 

Issued by

Mark Williamson, Senior Manager Employment Relations and Pay Equity, Te Puna Ohumahi Mātauranga | Education Workforce
Ministry of Education, 1 The Terrace, Wellington 6011
PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140, New Zealand, Phone 04-463 8000, Email

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