The Pay Equity Amendment Act

On 6 November 2020, making a pay equity claim became a whole lot simpler when the Equal Pay Amendment Act came into force.

Because the education sector is 85% female, the Act opens up major opportunities for all NZEI Te Riu Roa members. The Act gives us a much clearer path to pay equity for the many female-dominated roles that have historically been undervalued because they involve "women's work" and the care and education of children.

How does the new legislation change the pay equity process?

In passing very important amendments to the Equal Pay Act, the Government has made it clear that it wants the gender pay gap to close and for unions to play an important role in doing so. These amendments to the Act provide significant opportunities and a responsibility on unions to act decisively to end wage discrimination based on gender in NZ workplaces.     

  • The Act applies to any workforce in which at least 60% of employees are women. 
  • It's a much clearer process to raise a claim. 
  • The employers we raise claims with have to engage in the process. 
  • It's a collaborative process more familiar to unions and businesses. 
  • We can negotiate with employers in good faith and there is access to mediation and dispute resolution services if we can't reach agreement. 

Steps to pay equity

What does the pay equity process look like for ECE employers?

Employers will receive a Pay equity claim from NZEI Te Riu Roa for members employed or doing the same or similar work. 

The claim will state the following information: 

  • state the name and address for service of the NZEI Te Riu Roa claim
  • state the date on which the claim is made  
  • include a brief description of the work performed by the employees to be covered by the union-raised claim  
  • briefly set out the information that the claimant relies on in support of the elements required for an arguable pay equity claim under section 13F; 
  • if it is a multi-employer claim it will include a notice of your obligations under section 13K to enter a multi-employer pay equity process agreement with the other employers with whom the claim is raised
  • the name/s of each employer/s with whom the claim has been raised 
  • if it is a multi-employer claim it will include a brief explanation of how the work performed by the employees covered by the claim is the same or substantially similar. 

The claim will not include: 

  • The name of any individual NZEI Te Riu Roa members 

If the claim has been raised with multiple employers, they will receive a list of the other employers covered by the claim. Under section 13K of the Act, employers are required to contact the other employers and enter a single multi-employer pay equity process agreement for the purposes of deciding whether a claim is arguable and for the purpose of the pay equity bargaining process. 

Employers may opt out of the multi-employer process only for genuine reasons based on reasonable grounds, however, the employer must still progress a pay equity claim.

The pay equity process agreement must set out:  

  1. Who will represent the employers (if it is a multi-employer claim) 
  2. How decisions relating to the claim will be made 

Requirements under the legislation

 Step 1 - Receiving the claim An employer who receive a pay equity claim must:

  • Give written notice of receipt to NZEI Te Riu Roa.
  • Give written notice and a copy of the claim to any other unions that represents employees who person work that is the same as, or substantially similar to the claim.

Step 2 - agreeing the claim is arguable

  • An employer must enter a single multi-employer pay equity process if the claim is across multiple employers.
  • Employers must give joint notice whether they agree the claim is arguable within 45 working days of receipt.

Unless they extend this timeframe with a written notice to NZEI Te Riu Roa. The maximum extension on the time limit is an additional 80 working days.

 Step 3 - giving notice to affected employees

  • Each employer must individually give notice to affected employees that a pay equity claim has been raised and it is arguable within 20 working days of agreeing arguability.

This can be extended under reasonable grounds by an extra 25 working days with a written notice to NZEI Te Riu Roa.

 Step 4 - notice period for employees There is a 20 working day notice period for employees covered by the claim, this starts from when the employer provides notice to the employees that a pay equity claim has been raised and is arguable.

Once the 20 working day notice has passed, employer/s must provide NZEI Te Riu Roa with the contact details of all employees covered by the claim (including non-members) as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Section 13ZB - 13ZZE of the Act sets out the Pay Equity Bargaining Process once arguability is agreed.

Join up to join in!

You can help make the movement for fair pay unstoppable. Stand alongside us as a member of NZEI Te Riu Roa. It takes just a few minutes to become a member.