Teacher aide pay equity operational guidelines for schools

Guidance for schools on the implementation of the teacher aide pay equity settlement.  

Pay rate calculator

7 Appointment of a new teacher aide

When the Ministry, NZEI Te Riu Roa and NZSTA investigated the teacher aide pay equity claim, we gathered information about teacher aide work and used this to develop the work matrix table.
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.

The work matrix sets out the most common skills, responsibilities and demands that apply to teacher aides for each of the grades. The grade a teacher aide is on will determine their pay rate.

When creating a new teacher aide role, you should assess the job description against the skills, demands and responsibilities outlined in the work matrix table to assign the grade and step. A teacher aide will be placed in the grade that reflects the highest skills, demands or responsibilities performed regularly and on an ongoing basis in their role. The teacher aide doesn't have to do every activity in a grade or across all the three broad areas in order to be within it.

If a teacher aide performs a role that mainly requires skills, demands, and responsibilities within grade A, but also performs on a regular and ongoing basis skills, demands, or responsibilities from grade B, then grade B would apply to them. You will need to consider what makes up the majority of the role, and not the things that are a one-off or isolated event.

When considering the three broad areas of work, the role may include all three of the criteria (general support, additional support, te ao Māori), a blend of two, or it may be covered in just one of the criteria, for example, te ao Māori. In other words, if a teacher aide does one skill, demand or responsibility in a higher grade on a regular and ongoing basis, they need to be graded in the higher grade.

A teacher aide can be placed on any step within the applicable work matrix grade. When determining the step consider any particular skills and qualifications held by the teacher aide as well as any previous relevant paid or unpaid work experience.

Note: Unlike the CA pay scale, printed rates apply unless the teacher aide is already at the top step in the grade. In other words, if a teacher aide can move up a step within a grade, a school cannot pay them a salary loading (SALO) on top of the printed rate for that step. If you wish to pay more, you should move the employee to a higher step.

When a teacher aide reaches the top step of a grade, you can apply a SALO if you choose to pay above the maximum printed rates which apply to that grade.

Note: you should not move employees to a higher grade in order to pay them more. You should move them to the highest step in the grade to which their work in the work matrix applies, and then apply a SALO instead. Employers should contact NZSTA for any questions around new appointments of teacher aides on eradvice@nzsta.org.nz  or call 0800 782 435 (option 2).

Case Study 

Case study Marie icon

Marie | Grade B-C

A school needs a teacher aide to help a student with specific health needs. The core of the role is taking responsibility for a range of physical care that requires precision in handling. This places the role in grade B.

Marie is the best candidate for the role. She also has a Samoan background and speaks Samoan fluently. She offers to organise the annual Samoan language week.

This will involve her taking leadership in creating cultural performances and workshops (skills described in grade D). However, as this is a one-off event rather than regular and ongoing, she is offered a role in grade B-C.


Case Study 

Case Study Hana icon

Hana | Grade A > Grade B-C, step 6

The school needs a teacher aide to work with a small group of students on literacy skills using EarlyWords. In the job description, they say they need someone who can prepare resources independently and who will collaborate with other teacher aides. These skills sit within grade A.

The school interviews Hana. She is a standout candidate and has a strong relationship with many Māori community groups.

The school wants Hana to speak te reo Māori when representing the school in the community on a regular and ongoing basis (a skill outlined in grade C). While part of Hana's role is in grade A, her regular and ongoing work in te reo Māori means she will be placed in grade B-C, step 6.


Case Study 

Case study icon

School seeking teacher aide 

A school is looking for a teacher aide to assist a student with learning support needs. The new teacher aide will be responsible for the student's behavioural needs, execute occupational therapy programmes as prescribed by a specialist and help with toileting on a regular basis.

The school develops a job description and checks the work matrix for which grade the role should sit. While the teacher aide can be expected to help out with other tasks, the majority of the ongoing skills, demands and responsibilities sit in grade B.

As they are expected to help with toileting on a regular basis they will also receive the regular Tiaki allowance of $2.59 per hour worked.