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.

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Pay equity processes make women's work visible, the power of members coming together gets us to the win.

What have we won together?

Since we started our pay equity campaign we have won a settlement for Education Support Workers and in 2020, we won a settlement for teacher aides in schools. Both of these were long-found campaigns with NZEI Te Riu Roa members taking the lead.

We've made history and we're just getting started, now's the time to get involved. 


What is Pay Equity - Mana Taurite?

Pay equity is about valuing the work that has traditionally been done by women. Our pay equity claims are about addressing the historical undervaluing of the work of some professions. 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 for us to work together and fix this.

Pay equity is the mechanism we can use to win fair pay and conditions, but we still need to campaign together. We learnt from the teacher aide settlement that ultimately we need members to be on board and campaigning to get to the negotiation table. Pay equity processes makes women's work visible, the power of members coming together gets us to the win.

The pay equity process is a long journey - that's why our pay equity campaign for education sits alongside the other campaigns we have in the sector.

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.

Pay equity claims

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

Kaiārahi i Te Reo

We have lodged a pay equity process for kaiārahi i te reo with the Ministry of Education. The terms of reference has been signed between NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education. Beginning in Term 3 2020, interviews began with kaiārahi i te reo to gain a full understanding of the scope and variety work they do to ensure they are then properly valued for the complex and demanding jobs they do.

School administration staff

School admin staff are one step closer to pay equity with the signing of terms of reference between NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education. Beginning in Term 3 2020, interviews began with school admin staff to get a full understanding of the scope and variety of their work.

Find out more about the claim so far.

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Kindergarten Support Staff

Kindergarten support staff have kicked off a pay equity claim with their employers, following an agreement to do so in the kindergarten support staff collective agreement.

Interviews have taken place across the country with our pay equity advocates and member leaders. Soon, we will begin the assessment stage of the pay equity process.

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.

Be part of the ECE pay equity claim

Information for ECE employers

Our settlements

School teacher aides

Teacher aides have voted to endorse their pay equity settlement! They will be automatically translated to their new rates and will receive their new rates by November 2020, back paid to 12 February 2020.

Part of the pay equity settlement was an increase to the PLD fund to teacher aides. You can find out more here. 

Ministry of Education Support Workers

The terms of settlement for Ministry of Education Support Workers represents an historic and life-changing moment in what was a 12 year battle.

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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.