Teacher aide pay equity claim
The teacher aide pay equity settlement acknowledges the value of the skills, responsibilities and demands of teacher aide work, and ensures that value is being remunerated fairly. Read more about the new rates, tiaki allowance and other settlement outcomes as well as the funding of the teacher aide pay equity claim.
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- Outcomes of the settlement
- Ongoing requirements for schools
- Funding the settlement
- Support and further information
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.
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 19-30% 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.
Schools have several obligations under the settlement including applying the new Work Matrix correctly and offering the correct pay equity rates.
The new 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 four grades (A, B, C, D) showing the most common skills, responsibilities and demands that fall under three broad areas of teacher aide work:
- General support (classroom/academic)
- Additional support (e.g. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 later than two months prior to the progression being due.
Teacher aides who on their anniversary date 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 and has informed the teacher aide of this no later than two months prior to the progression becoming 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 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.
The settlement covered all teacher aides in state and state-integrated school 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 (funding was provided to schools for this in August 2020).
The Ministry provided the additional pay equity funding required by translating teacher aides from the old pay scale to the new pay equity pay scale. This was a ‘point to point’ translation following the translation rules of the settlement. Point to point means that teacher aides were transferred from their point on the previous collective agreement scale to the equivalent point on the new pay equity pay scale.
The Ministry will continue to provide funding for additional annual progression up pay steps which arises from the settlement.
If you have any questions about the teacher aide pay equity claim settlement please email us at TeacherAide.PayEquity@education.govt.nz
The Ministry contracts NZSTA to provide employment advice to schools including on employment agreements. Their Advisory and Support centre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 782 435 (press option 2)
For teacher aides:
If you need more information or would like to talk about your specific situation get in touch with your school or contact NZEI Te Riu Roa on 0800 693 443.
If you receive Working for Families payments, you’ll need to let Inland Revenue know about your new pay rate and backdated pay.
Further information about the settlement outcomes
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