Science technician pay equity claim

Science technicians (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 science technicians pay equity claim.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Science technicians 
  • Principals and tumuaki
  • School boards

About science technicians

School science technicians are responsible for the preparation, maintenance and operation of the practical equipment, the making and safe storage of solutions and the care and collection of biological specimens used in school science labs.

They instruct and assist teachers with practical skills, including class demonstrations and advanced techniques across all science disciplines and assist students with equipment requests for individual projects. Health and safety in the school science laboratory is a key responsibility. 

 Workforce data from 2021 shows 87% of science technicians employed in state and state integrated schools are female.

How did the claim come about?

On 6 November 2020 NZEI Te Riu Roa raised a pay equity claim for science technicians 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 March 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 be sent to any new employees who start a role covered by the claim. You can view a copy of this notification letter [DOCX, 155 KB] and factsheet [PDF, 801 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 science technicians. So far, we’ve completed 52 research interviews with science technicians 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.

We are now seeking feedback from schools to check whether there are any significant gaps in our findings. It is important that we capture the broad range of responsibilities and activities carried out by this workforce, so that they are represented in the assessment of this pay equity claim.


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