Changes to the Equal Pay Act

Learn about new requirements under the Equal Pay Act which was amended in 2020.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Education sector workforce employees and employers
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • School boards

The purpose of amendments to the Equal Pay Act (the Act) is to lay out the process for employees and unions to raise, progress and resolve pay equity claims, aligned with New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. This Act seeks to make it easier to raise pay equity claims and encourages collaboration and evidence-based decision making to address pay inequity, rather than relying on the courts.

The recent amendments introduced several new requirements for how pay equity claims are progressed.

Our requirements under the Act

The Act makes the Public Service Commissioner the ‘employer’ for the purpose of pay equity claims for registered kindergarten teachers and employees in state and integrated schools.  The Commissioner has delegated his functions and powers to the Secretary for Education.  This means that:

  • the Ministry of Education has to write to all employees affected by current education-sector pay equity claims, and future pay equity claims if they arise, advising them that they are covered by the claim and giving them certain information, including the employee’s ability to opt out the claim;
  • the notification will outline an affected employee’s options on whether they would like to stay in or opt-out of the claim. We have a legal requirement to pass the name and contact details of employees who remain in the claim to the union who raised the claim unless they choose to opt-out of the claim within a set timeframe.

Employee rights

We recommend that anyone affected by the current pay equity claims, or any future claims, seek independent legal advice to understand how the new pay equity laws might impact them.

More about employee rights under the new pay equity laws

Requirements for employers named in a pay equity claim

The Secretary for Education acts as the sole “employer” for the purpose of pay equity claims in schools.

Recent pay equity claims have involved employers within the early learning education sector.

See information for named employers and learn what might be expected from the pay equity claim process

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