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Source: New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)

27 May 2020

More than 22,000 school teacher aides have been offered a life-changing pay equity settlement including pay increases of up to 28%, following a pay equity process that NZEI Te Riu Roa initiated with the Ministry of Education in 2016.  

Taken together with Living Wage pay increases won during collective bargaining late last year, most teacher aides will now receive pay rises of 23-34% across the course of 2020. That’s an increase of $4 to $6.60 an hour, recognising the value of teacher aides’ skills, responsibilities and experience that has been undervalued on the basis of gender. Schools will be funded to pay the increased rates. 

In the coming weeks, all teacher aides in schools and kura will have the opportunity to attend Zoom hui to discuss the details before voting online to endorse the settlement. 

The teacher aides on the NZEI Te Riu Roa negotiation team are ecstatic about the proposed settlement. 

Fa’a Sisnett, a teacher aide in West Auckland, says, “Winning pay equity means that I can feel like a valued, contributing member of my family as well as feeling valued for the job that I do at school.” 

Andrea Andrews, a teacher aide in Christchurch, says “The people that come into this profession – because that’s what it is – will do so knowing that what they contribute is going to be valued. And that is amazing.” 

For Ally Kemplen, a teacher aide in central Auckland for the past 21 years, pay equity means she will be able to afford to buy a washing machine instead of using a laundromat. “It’s going to change my life in so many ways,” she says. 

Annie Te Moana, Kaiāwhina, South Auckland, says – “Mana taurite pay equity will change my life and many of my colleagues because now we will be able to live a little bit more comfortably, mana taurite also recognises and values our roles as kaiāwhina in kura throughout Aotearoa.”   

Marcia Martin, a teacher aide at Tauranga Special School, welcomes the recognition of the hard work and contribution that teacher aides make to children’s education.

“All teacher aides go above and beyond, often working unpaid just to ensure the children get what they need during the school day. This not only will mean more money but recognition as a profession worth being in,” she says. 

NZEI Te Riu Roa President, Liam Rutherford, says the proposed settlement is a huge win for teacher aides and for women. 

“The evidence from this process was stark and confirmed what we already knew – teacher aides have been significantly undervalued and underpaid for decades because they are predominantly women. This proposed settlement will finally pay teacher aides equitably and recognise their value,” he says. 

“This settlement also paves the way for pay equity settlements for other support staff groups, such as administrators and Kaiārahi i te Reo, which we’re looking to progress as quickly as possible.”   

Following a vote open to all teacher aides to endorse the settlement, NZEI Te Riu support staff members will vote to vary their collective agreement to take in the settlement. Following this, all teacher aides will be transferred to new pay steps based on a new work grading matrix.

NZEI Te Riu Roa members will be able to access union support and member workshops to make sure they are on the right grade.

All teacher aides will start receiving the new pay rates by November 2020, backdated to 12 February 2020. 

In addition to pay increases, the proposed settlement changes the way skills are assessed, includes a more flexible and increased Tiaki allowance (formerly “dirty work” allowance), makes changes to how much hours can be varied and increases professional learning and development funding. A commitment has also been made to investigate central funding, the use of fixed term contracts and the development of career pathways. 

More details of the settlement and the endorsement process are at