Administration pay equity claim

Photo of an administration staff member

Who are the claimants?

Administration staff are an important part of the education workforce.

Today in New Zealand, there are over 10,000 people each year whose roles fall under the umbrella of administration and clerical staff working in primary, intermediate, area, secondary schools and kura and Te Kura. The roles vary from financial administrators to office management to programme administrators.

About administration staff

The administration staff occupation was introduced in the education sector in the mid-twentieth century. An increase in student numbers across New Zealand between 1950 and 1975 due to a post-war baby boom, immigration and the government’s extension of compulsory school attendance, drove the demand for staffing across the education sector.

Recruitment and retention of teachers was difficult, and placed more pressures on teaching staff. There was also a major reform of the education sector in the mid-twentieth century, shifting the curriculum and teaching practices to be broader and more student-focused.

This new curriculum, combined with the growth of the student population and labour shortage, led to considerable growth in the range and number of support staff in an attempt to lighten the load on the teaching and senior non-teaching staff.

Today in schools, the administration role has expanded as a result of increasingly complex technology and more requirements on schools for things such as reporting and office management.

How did the claim come about

NZEI Te Riu Roa raised a claim with the Secretary for Education on behalf of administration staff, arguing that the work they do has been and continues to be undervalued.

It is thought that the work of administration staff is undervalued due to the fact that they are currently and historically female dominated. It is therefore possible that some aspects of the skills, knowledge and interests required to carry out the work are less visible, and so not always recognised and equitably remunerated.

The claim seeks to uncover these skills, consider the work done alongside demands and working conditions and compare them against male dominated comparators.

A process for considering that claim was agreed between the Secretary for Education, NZEI Te Riu Roa and the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA).

What has happened so far with the claim?

Following some early research, the Ministry and NZEI Te Riu Roa decided to visit a small range of Wellington schools to get a better idea of the structure and functions of their administration staff.

Information gathered during this preliminary investigation will be used to inform the claim.

The claim process is based on the Pay Equity Principles, and will follow four key stages:

  1. Investigation of claimant role
  2. Investigation of comparator roles
  3. Assessment/analysis of evidence
  4. Settlement

NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry signed the terms of reference for the administration claim on Thursday 18 June, which formally starts the investigation and assessment stage, with interviews due to start in the week beginning 27 July 2020.

Pay equity principles

The pay equity principles guide the raising and resolving of pay equity claims. These principles are based on good faith, in line with New Zealand’s employment relations framework.

Read about the pay equity principles and the stages of a pay equity claim.

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