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

About the Equal Pay Act 1972

The Equal Pay Act 1972 (the Act) outlines actions that need to be taken when a pay equity claim is raised. 

On 6 November 2020, the Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 came into force. The amended Act makes it easier for people to raise and resolve a pay equity claim.

The updated Act makes it easier to raise pay equity claims. Individual employees (as well as unions) can raise a pay equity claim directly with a single or multiple employers. It encourages collaboration and evidence-based decision making to address pay inequity, rather than relying on the courts.

Equal Pay Act 1972 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 – NZ Legislation(external link)

Our requirements under the Act

For the purpose of pay equity claims, the Act makes the Public Service Commissioner the 'employer' of registered kindergarten teachers and employees in state and state-integrated schools.

The Commissioner has delegated these functions and powers to the Secretary of 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). We must advise them that they are covered by the claim and give them certain information.

The notification should outline an affected employee’s options and ask them to make a decision about 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.

Employee rights under the Equal Pay Act

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.

Learn more about named employers and what to expect from the pay equity claim process.

Employers named in a pay equity claim

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