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 claims are about addressing the historical undervaluing of the work of some professions. 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!

The Ministry of Education Support Workers and Kristine Bartlett's pay equity cases has paved the way for women in education to win pay equity. When we win pay equity, it will benefit the women, but also the small number of men employed in the sector.

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.

Pay Equity Pledge

You can sign up to the Pay Equity Pledge and display it to show that you and your colleagues support government-funded pay equity for school support staff and early childhood educators.

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 beginning claims for pay equity.

Teacher aides

Teacher aides have voted to endorse their pay equity settlement! Teacher aides will be automatically translated to new pay steps.

Click here to see the settlement details.

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

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.

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.

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

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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.

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.


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.