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Our pay equity campaign for educators

Take action | Our pay equity claims | About pay equity  | For ECE employers

Work with hands, heads, or hearts—it's all equal

No matter who you are or what kind of work you do, you deserve to be paid fairly for your work. But for women, achieving fair pay has been a long, hard battle which is not over yet.

Despite the passing of the Equal Pay Act 40 years ago, women are still paid $4 an hour less, on average, than men. In many cases that's because work that's traditionally done by women—such as caring and working with young children—has been historically undervalued. Entire sectors of the workforce have been underpaid as a result.

The good news is, recent landmark court decisions have clarified that our right to equal pay covers the right to pay equity too. And NZEI Te Riu Roa members are leading the charge.

Take action now

We're making history. Now's the time to get involved.

What is Pay Equity or Mana Taurite? What does this have to do with me?

Our pay equity claim is about addressing the historical undervaluing of the work of teacher aides. This undervaluation has occurred because the work has been traditionally done by women. The skills, effort and responsibility in roles that society has perceived to be ‘women’s work’ have been undervalued in both status and pay. It’s time to fix this, because fair’s fair!

Kristine Bartlett's pay equity case has paved the way for women to win pay equity. When we win pay equity, it will benefit the women, but also the small number of men, employed as teacher aides

Mana Taurite is te reo Māori for equal status or equity.


How do we win pay equity?

We need everyone on board and part of the Fair's Fair Mana Taurite campaign. We have a legal process underway, and we will need the Government to pay for the improved pay rates - the same way they funded Kristine Bartlett's pay equity case.

Fair's fair is your campaign to win mana taurite/pay equity. Winning will take all of us.

Be part of the ECE pay equity claim

People working in ECE have been underpaid for far too long. We’re starting a new movement, making a historic claim for pay equity for everyone working in ECE.

Teachers and staff are joining forces from all over the country, in private and community-run centres, in an unprecedented show of strength and unity. For many of us in private centres it'll be our first opportunity to come together to fight for fair pay.

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.

Information for ECE Employers

Four employer groups have already signed up to pay equity processes in their collective agreement negotiations (ECECA, Barnardos, Salvation Army and kindergarten support staff). And a fifth employer, Childspace, is leading involvement in a process the whole sector can participate in.  See more about the pay equity process here.

Pay equity claims

NZEI Te Riu Roa members are already beginning claims for pay equity.

Early childhood education

Teachers and staff are joining forces from all over the country, in private and community-run centres, in an unprecedented show of strength and unity. We're calling on ECE workers to join in now.

See more about our historic ECE pay equity claim

See the ECE pay equity timeline

School administration staff 

Our pay equity claim for school administrators kicks off now. We're starting out by researching all the different responsibilities and skills that you have, and we need your help.

Help kick off our claim.

Teacher aides

The Ministry of Education agreed with us and E tū to start pay equity talks within a month of settling teacher aides' pay equity claim. There's been some good progress—see what's been happening.

See the teacher aide pay equity timeline


Pay equity is when people who work in jobs that have traditionally been done by women, are paid the same as those doing work of the same value that's traditionally done by men.

In 2012, aged care worker Kristine Bartlett with her union E tū brought an Equal Pay Act case against her employer, Terranova Homes. She argued she had spent 20 years on very low pay because aged care is largely performed by women.

Ms Bartlett’s case went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court agreed that anyone who does so-called “women’s work” can make a pay equity claim under the Equal Pay Act.

To avoid further court cases after the Kristine Bartlett win, the Government set up a set up a Joint Working Group with unions, businesses and officials to agree a set of pay equity principles. These principles aim to help women and employers negotiate over equal pay and get justice more quickly and efficiently than by having to go to court.

In April of 2017, in response to Kristine Bartlett's win, the Government agreed a $2 billion settlement to fund 20 to 40 percent pay rises for care workers over the next five years.

This win by rest home care workers show what's possible when we combine our strength in a union to give us the power to stand up for what's right.

A message from Kristine Bartlett

We caught up with Kristine Bartlett recently to talk about how her historic pay equity case has changed people's lives.

Kathy, Mary, and Denise walk alongside NZEI President Lynda Stuart and supporters as they head off to pay equity mediation.
Photo: Mark Coote.