Teacher aide pay equity claim

Learn more about the teacher aide pay equity settlement, which acknowledges the value of the skills, responsibilities and demands of teacher aide work and ensures that value is remunerated fairly.

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  • Principals and tumuaki
  • School boards
  • Teacher aides

Settlement of the claim

On 27 May 2020, the Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa settled a historic pay equity claim for the 20,000 teacher aides who work in state and state-integrated schools and kura in New Zealand.

The settlement corrects past undervaluation of the work mainly done by women and acknowledges the value of the skills, responsibilities and demands of teacher aides who are supporting children who need the most help with their learning.

Read more about the new rates, the new work matrix, tiaki allowance and the ongoing requirements for schools and kura under the settlement.

Information for teacher aides

Settlement outcomes

Pay equity rates

Tiaki allowance

Professional learning and development

Variation of hours

New work matrix

Longer-term work

Key documents

The settlement included a new work matrix, new and fair pay rates and increases in the tiaki allowance (formally "dirty work" allowance) to fully correct the sex-based undervaluation of remuneration identified during the investigation process.

The pay equity rates range from $21.20 to $34.68 and were made effective from 12 February 2020. For the majority of teacher aides, this was an increase ranging from 19 to 30% on their pay rates in 2019.

The settlement also provides:

  • easier access to professional development opportunities for teacher aides
  • limitations on the variation of a teacher aide’s assigned working hours
  • longer-term work to address other issues affecting teacher aides.

Ongoing requirements

The work matrix

When we investigated the teacher aide pay equity claim along with NZSTA and NZEI Te Riu Roa, we gathered information about teacher aide work and created the work matrix.

This matrix has 4 grades (A, B, C, D) showing the most common skills, responsibilities and demands that fall under 3 broad areas of teacher aide work:

  • general support (classroom/academic)
  • additional support (for example, behavioural, high health or pastoral)
  • te ao Māori (acknowledging the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand, all students should have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga).

Pay equity work matrix

Grading existing teacher aides

The employer will need to assess the regular and ongoing skills, demands and responsibilities of each teacher aide role.

The teacher aide’s grade will need to reflect the highest-level skills, demands and responsibilities that are required for competent performance of the role. An employer will need to consider what makes up the majority of the role and not things that are a one-off or isolated event.

Teacher aides do not have to do every activity in a grade in order to be placed in a particular work matrix grade.

Grading new teacher aides

The employer will need to determine job descriptions and/or other written requirements and the applicable work matrix grade for all positions as part of the recruitment process.

Upon appointment, each teacher aide role must be placed in a work matrix grade (A, B, C or D) using the same approach for grading existing teacher aides.

Job descriptions

In cases where a job description and/or written requirements for an existing position does not exist, the current employee needs to be consulted in determining a job description.

The job description and/or written requirements for the role may be reviewed by the employer and teacher aide and may be updated as required by the employer following consultation with the teacher aide.

Substantial changes to a job description and/or written requirements for a position may not be made until after the employer has consulted the teacher aide and tried to reach an agreement.

New pay rates

Employers are required to continue to offer teacher aides the new pay equity rates according to their given work matrix grade. Employers can treat the stated rate as the minimum rates of pay and can offer a pay rate above the maximum of the rate of each grade specified if they wish.

Education Payroll will have automatically translated every eligible teacher aide from the old pay scale to the new pay equity pay scale using a 'point to point' movement.

This was based on the translation rules in the settlement agreement and was implemented in February 2021.

Pay equity rates

Teacher aide hours

Following the implementation of this settlement, an employer’s ability to vary the hours of work of teacher aides has been limited.

This is to a maximum variation of 25% of the hours the teacher aide is currently employed to perform in any 12-month period.

Variation of hours

Annual progression

Progression through steps within the minimum and maximum rates that apply to each work matrix grade will occur on a teacher aide’s anniversary date each year.

This is unless the employer considers that the teacher aide has not met the standards of performance as assessed by the employer against the job description or written requirements for the position. The employer will need to inform the teacher aide of this no less than 2 months before the progression is due.

On their anniversary date, teacher aides who have been on the maximum step of work matrix grade B-C step 5 for at least 12 months will progress to step 6, unless the employer considers the teacher aide’s role remains solely within work matrix grade B. They must have informed the teacher aide of this no less than 2 months before the progression is due.

Every year, employers should set up a meeting with their teacher aides to discuss their role and performance. This is an opportunity to ensure a teacher aide’s job description/written requirements are up to date and accurately reflects their role and placement in the work matrix.

Employers can seek advice from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) about good practice for the annual performance review process. A teacher aide, who has the right to representation at any stage, may request their employer reconsider their salary progression.

Funding the settlement

Covered employees at state and state-integrated schools and kura, including those who may have finished their job on or after 12 February 2020 and started another position at another school, or left the workforce entirely, are included in the settlement.

We provide the additional pay equity funding required by translating covered employees from the old pay scale to the new pay equity pay scale.

This is a point-to-point translation following the translation rules of the settlement. Point-to-point means that covered employees will be transferred from their point on the previous position elements table to the equivalent point on the new pay equity work matrix.

Funding calculation

Due to the settlement of the Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement (SSSCA) 2019 and teacher aide pay equity claim taking place around the same time, funding for both the collective agreement and pay equity settlement is calculated and funded together.

Settlement funding is provided to cover the difference between the old non-teaching collective rate and the new pay equity pay scale rate. This funding is calculated for relevant hours worked, by covered employees.

Tiaki allowances

If you have a teacher aide who receives the occasional or regular tiaki allowance, you will also receive funding for this.

This funding is calculated and paid as part of your pay equity settlement funding paid through your quarterly operational grant.

Tiaki allowance

Regular tiaki

Teacher aides who perform tiaki duties at least once per day on average (or up to 5 times per week) will receive a regular tiaki allowance. They will receive this hourly allowance even if they do not have to perform the tiaki work on a certain day (for example, if a student is absent from school).

Occasional tiaki

Teacher aides who perform occasional tiaki duties will receive a one-off allowance for each incident. Teacher aides can only apply for 1 allowance per day and can only claim this allowance on days they perform tiaki duties.

We will continue to provide funding for additional annual progression up pay steps which arises from the settlement.

Funding instalments 2022

Funding instalments 2021

Funding instalments 2020

Settlement resources

Pay rate calculator

Fact sheets

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