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Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

What is a pay equity claim?

A claim that:

  • an occupational group
  • that is predominantly women
  • has faced gender-based discrimination
  • that has adversely affected the occupational groups pay and conditions

Pay equity claims are made under new provisions in the Equal Pay Act 1972.

Why are we lodging a pay equity claim?

Changes were made to the Equal Pay Act in August of this year to provide a standard process for pay equity claims to be lodged and progressed. The new process came into effect on 6 November 2020 and the registered kindergarten teacher claim was made shortly after.

Why has this happened now?

We have been notified by the Ministry of Education that a pay equity claim has been made for registered kindergarten teachers. Under the Equal Pay Act, all other registered teachers that are state sector employees must be notified of the claim and are potentially covered by it. In response the PPTA are lodging our own claim for PPTA members so our role as your representative in any pay equity process for registered teachers is established.

Does our claim cover non-classroom teaching roles? What about RTLB’s?

The claim covers all of our members that are registered teachers. This includes RTLB, guidance counsellors, senior leaders and principals.

Will this affect the part-time case?

No, the part-time case was taken under different provisions of the Equal Pay Act and is a very specific case relating to conditions of work between two sub-sets of secondary teachers. Full-time and part-time. The case has been heard and now we are just waiting for a decision.

What is the process for a pay equity claim?

The process is set out in the new provisions to the Equal Pay Act 1972

It involves assessing the work of registered teachers and comparing it to male dominated occupations to see whether the work has been undervalued. This is commonly called a work assessment. If the work has been undervalued, then there are negotiations for new payrates that reflect the actual rate for the job, based on the information gathered during the work assessment.

Unlike ordinary negotiations the pay equity process includes the option for the Employment Court to set new payrates and timing of these if parties cannot come to an agreement on them.

You can see more information about the process here ( 

Will our work be compared to primary teachers or ECE teachers work?

No – during a pay equity process other occupational groups are used as part of the assessment of whether a gender pay gap exists. These are known as comparators. Comparator occupational groups must be male dominated. ECE and primary teachers are female dominated and so cannot be comparators for secondary teachers.

How long will it take?

The process is thorough and takes a reasonable amount of time, usually years. There are a number of other pay equity claims that have been lodged for the education sector workforce that may be prioritised before our claim is progressed.

What are the next steps?

After we lodge the claim the Ministry of Education must decide within 45 working days whether they consider the claim is an arguable pay equity claim. If they do then we will need to agree what the process will be for the work assessment.

What is the difference between pay equity and equal pay?

Pay equity is about women and men receiving the same pay for doing jobs that are different, but of equal value (that is, jobs that require similar degrees of skills, responsibility and effort). Equal pay is about men and women getting the same pay for doing the same job. The process for making equal pay claims is largely unaffected by the changes that have been made to the Act.

Aren’t secondary principals male-dominated?

Yes, however the fact that secondary principals pay is linked to secondary teachers, and also has been tied to primary principals means there may be an arguable case that their terms and conditions of work have been affected by gender-based discrimination as a consequence of this.

Will we get back pay if the process shows we are underpaid?

Any increases in pay and the timing for this must be negotiated between us and the Ministry for Education and there are many ways this could look, depending on how long the process takes. Some of the pay equity settlements that have occurred already included back pay, or phased increases as part of normal collective agreement negotiations before the full equal pay rates were introduced.

Can I be involved?

Yes, there will be opportunities for members to be involved in the work assessment process. We will put information out through branches when we have more details on this.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 December 2020 15:24