Caretakers, cleaners and canteen staff

Find out if you're covered by the School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff employment agreements, and what pay, allowances, leave and other benefits you’re entitled to.

Your role as a caretaker, cleaner or canteen worker

If you work at a school as a:

  • caretaker, you’re responsible for the safety and good order of the school grounds and buildings and you may also do some cleaning or supervise cleaners.
  • cleaner, you carry out cleaning of any kind.
  • canteen worker, you work in the school canteen or tuck shop, or as a tea person in the school staffroom.

If your work only includes looking after the school grounds then you’re covered by the Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement.

Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

Employment agreements

Caretakers, cleaners and canteen workers in state and state-integrated schools and kura are covered by the terms and conditions of:

  • the School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement, or
  • an individual employment agreement (IEA), with similar terms and conditions to the collective agreement.

Who's covered by the collective agreement

You're covered by the collective agreement if:

  • your work is covered by this agreement, and
  • you’re a member of E tū.

School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement 2017-2019

Who's covered by the individual employment agreement (IEA)

You need to sign an IEA if:

  • your work is covered by the collective agreement, but
  • you're not a member of E tū.

The Ministry of Education develops and approves the IEA. The terms and conditions of your work are similar to the collective agreement.

School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Individual Employment Agreement [PDF, 23 KB]

Varying the employment conditions for caretakers, cleaners, canteen staff and groundstaff

You may be able to negotiate with your school board to have some different terms and conditions from those in your employment agreement. For example, you may agree to be paid a set weekly figure with an amount included to cover various allowances that would be paid irregularly. This is usually done to simplify your package of pay and allowances.

Your employer can’t use this process to negotiate terms that disadvantage you or provide you with lesser conditions than the collective agreement.

Before you negotiate different terms with your employer check clause 1.4.2 of the collective agreement.

Clause 1.4.2 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners’ and Canteen Workers' Collective Agreement

It's important that any variation in the terms and conditions of your agreement is properly recorded and signed by you, your union representative and a board representative. If you only have a verbal agreement with your employer, put it in writing as soon as possible.

Make sure the variation agreement clearly states the individual components of your pay package.

The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) provides guidelines and a template you can download and use to record variations to the terms of your agreement.

School caretakers, cleaners and canteen staff - NZSTA website (external link)

Your pay

Cleaners and canteen workers

For information about your pay refer to clause 2.2 of the collective agreement.

Clause 2.2 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

The current minimum wage is $16.02 an hour ($640.80 a week). Your school board may offer to pay you more than this. 

If you're in charge of other workers, you'll get a salary increase, as set out in clause 2.3.

Clause 2.3 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Caretakers

For information about your pay refer to clause 3.2 of the collective agreement.

Clause 3.2 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

How much you're paid depends on whether you're a grade 1 or grade 2 caretaker as set out in clause 3.1.

Clause 3.1 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

You're a grade 1 caretaker if you're responsible for the safety and good order of the school grounds and buildings, and you may clean or supervise cleaning, or attend to fires, heating plant or swimming pools. You do minor maintenance but not work that needs to be done by a registered or qualified tradesperson.

You're a grade 2 caretaker if you do all the tasks of a grade 1 worker but also are able to do maintenance that would normally be done by a registered or qualified tradesperson.

You're an assistant caretaker if you help a grade 1 or 2 caretaker with their duties.

The following table shows your minimum weekly pay. Your school board may offer to pay you more than this.

 Grade 1Grade 2
Caretaker $672.55 $729.25
Assistant caretaker $660.96  

You'll be paid more if you're in charge of other caretakers as set out in clause 3.2 of the collective agreement.

Clause 3.2 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement 

A part-time caretaker (less than 35 hours a week) is paid a minimum of $16.82 an hour for grade 1 and $18.24 an hour for grade 2.

A part-time assistant caretaker is paid a minimum of $16.54 an hour.

Pay increases

There are 2 types of pay increases allowed in the employment agreement. You can get one or the other, but not both.

You can get a pay increase of $0.15 cents an hour after 3 years’ employment, and $0.26 cents an hour after 5 years’ employment as set out in clause 4.1 of the collective agreement.

Clause 4.1 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Under clause 4.3 of the collective agreement you'll get a pay increase if you achieve the National Certificate in Cleaning and Caretaking – $0.15 cents an hour for stage 1 and $0.30 cents an hour for stage 2. Refer to clause 4.9 for more information.

Clause 4.3 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Allowances

Allowances are covered in Part 4 of the collective agreement.

Part 4 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

These allowances may include:

  • clothing and footwear (if your employer doesn’t provide these – $0.10 cents an hour)
  • transport (if you have to use your own car for work – $0.59 cents per kilometre)
  • working at heights ($1.74 a day)
  • unusually dirty work ($3.85 a day)
  • bicycle (if you use your own bike for work – $2.47 a week)
  • broken time ($3.71 a day).

You can also get an allowance if you do a job that's paid at a higher rate, for example, if you're an assistant caretaker and you do the caretaker’s job while they're away.

Cleaners and canteen workers

You can also get a fire lighting allowance of $1.36 a day, as set out in clause 2.4.

Clause 2.4 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Caretakers

You can get an allowance of $3.09 a day if you have to operate a boiler and $4.50 a day if you have to care for a swimming pool, as set out in clauses 3.4 and clause 3.5 of the collective agreement. Also see appendix A for information about handling pool chemicals.

Clause 3.4 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Clause 3.5 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Appendix A - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement 

Leave

Leave entitlements are set out in Part 5 of the collective agreement.

Part 5 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Annual and long service leave

You get 4 weeks’ annual leave each year and you must take this when the school is closed (that is, not in term time). This is on top of the normal public holidays, which are paid days off. You also get Easter Tuesday as a paid day off in your first 10 years of service.

You must take all your annual leave in the year it's due – you can’t carry it forward.

After 5 years’ continuous service, your annual leave increases to 4 weeks and 3 days.

After 10 years’ continuous service, your annual leave increases to 5 weeks but you must take Easter Tuesday as annual leave.

After 15 years’ continuous service you're entitled to long service leave. 

For more information refer to clause 5.6 of the collective agreement.

Clause 5.6 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Sick leave

A sick leave allocation of 7 days each year is set out in clause 5.1 of the collective agreement.

Clause 5.1 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

You can also use this to care for a sick family member (domestic leave) as set out in clause 5.2.

Clause 5.2 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Other leave

You ent'reitled to bereavement/tangihanga leave, as set out in clause 5.3 of the collective agreement.

Clause 5.3 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Retirement leave is set out in clause 2.7 and clause 3.10 of the collective agreement.

Clause 2.7 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Clause 3.10 - School Caretakers’, Cleaners' and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Parental leave

You're entitled to parental leave, as set out in the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987. It applies to a birth mother, their partner/spouse and people who adopt a child aged under 6.

Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 - NZ Legislation website (external link)

Parental leave covers 4 types of leave.

  • Maternity leave – mothers can get up to 18 weeks off work from around the time of birth or from the time you start caring for an adopted child.
  • Partner/paternity leave – if your partner has had a baby or you've adopted a child together, you can take up to 2 weeks off.
  • Extended leave – you may be able to extend your maternity leave for an extra 52 weeks.
  • Special leave – while you're pregnant, you can have up to 10 days’ pregnancy-related leave.

You need to apply to your employer before taking parental leave. The usual notice required is 3 months but this can be reduced in some circumstances, for example if an adoption is arranged in a short time. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) website explains how to apply for parental leave.

Parental Leave - MBIE website (external link)

Parental leave payment

If you qualify for the parental leave payment, it's paid through Inland Revenue, so you need to apply for this payment and your school must confirm that you're entitled to parental leave. The MBIE website explains how to apply for parental leave payments.

Parental leave payment - MBIE website (external link)

Leaving your job

Both you and your employer must follow the correct processes and procedures to manage your resignation, dismissal or retirement.

Resignation, dismissal and retirement

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