Librarian and library assistants pay equity claim

Librarians (and those doing same or similar work) in schools are currently the subject of a pay equity claim which seeks to ensure that they are receiving equitable remuneration for their work. Learn about the librarians pay equity claim.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Librarians
  • Library assistants
  • Principals and tumuaki 
  • School boards

About librarians and library assistants

School librarians and library assistants develop the school library as a centre of learning, promoting and delivering a supportive and effective facility for all members of the school community to foster a love of reading and enhance life-long learning.

A school librarian or library assistant contributes to the development of reading and oracy skills and school wide reading culture through reading programmes, initiatives and events, leadership and support to teachers on reading engagement. They ensure the provision of a wide range of quality reading material, catering for diverse needs and interests.

They coordinate school-wide guidance and training for all staff and students in effective use of resources and manage the physical aspects of the library including inventory, maintenance, budgets and any health and safety requirements.

The most current data shows that in 2020, 97% of school librarians and library assistants in state and state-integrated schools are female. There are 1,048 females and 31 males currently employed in these roles.

Since 1998, over 93% of this workforce has been female. It is likely that librarians and library assistants have been female dominated roles since their role started in schools.

How did the claim come about?

On 6 November 2020 NZEI Te Riu Roa raised a pay equity claim for librarians and those people doing same or similar work in state and state-integrated schools in New Zealand.

What’s happening now?

Arguability for this claim has been agreed with NZEI Te Riu Roa. A notification letter and factsheet about the claim was sent to all affected employees on 17 February 2021. Schools received a letter and copy of the notification and factsheet in the same week, and are required to talk to their affected employees to make sure they have received a copy of this letter. 

Until the claim is settled (if this is the outcome of the investigation), this letter and factsheet will also need to be given to any new employees who start a role covered by the claim, on their first day of employment. You can view a copy of this notification letter [DOCX, 155 KB] and factsheet [PDF, 806 KB].

A Terms of Reference (which sets out how we will work together to investigate this claim) was then signed with NZEI Te Riu Roa and NZSTA in late 2021. The signing of the Terms of Reference marked the end of the raising phase of the process, which means we’ve now moved into the assessment phase.

The first part of the assessment phase involved us conducting interviews with the claimants to understand more about the skills, responsibilities, degree of effort, and conditions of their roles.

We travelled around the country interviewing an initial sample size of randomly selected librarians and library assistants. So far, we’ve completed 64 research interviews with librarians, library assistants and their supervisors.

We then analysed this interview data to come up with the draft general areas of responsibility (GAR) document for this claim that attempts to capture the range of work these people do.

As a result of the feedback we received on our General Areas of Responsibility document, we conducted several follow-up phone calls and interviews with claimants to understand in more detail the responsibilities we were informed of.

We have also begun to interview comparators working in male-dominated roles. These interviews are conducted in the same way to those in the claimant interview stage of the process so we can match the level and quality of detail captured to ensure a robust, gender-neutral process. The skills, responsibilities, degree of effort, and working conditions of comparator and claimant roles will soon be assessed, along with their remuneration and terms of employment, to determine whether undervaluation is present.


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