Teacher aide mana taurite / pay equity settlement

Teacher aides have now endorsed this pay equity settlement!

Teacher aides will be automatically translated to new pay steps.

This settlement only applies to school teacher aides. We are working to progress pay equity claims for other support staff groups.

Watch a pre-recorded Zoom hui

Our NZEI Te Riu Roa advocate and teacher aide member talks through the settlement details.


Today’s teacher aides are highly skilled educators, assisting the learning and ensuring the wellbeing of children with often complex medical, physical, learning and/or behavioural needs. However, their pay and conditions do not fairly value this work.

In September 2017, NZEI Te Riu Roa lodged a pay equity claim on behalf of all teacher aides, providing evidence that their work is mostly done by women and that it is undervalued as “women’s work.”

This settlement is the result of the collective strength and action of NZEI Te Riu Roa members and a long pay equity process that has involved evidence gathering, interviews with comparitors and negotiations with the Ministry of Education.

About the settlement

The pay equity settlement for teacher aides includes pay increases, changes to the way skills are assessed, a new allowance, changes to how much hours can be varied, and the development of career pathways.

Combining last year’s collective agreement pay rise with the pay equity settlement, teacher aides will receive pay rises of 23-34% across 2020.

That’s an increase of $4 to $6.60 an hour, recognising the true value of teacher aides’ skills, responsibilities and experience.

It is important to know that these pay increases are funded.

The increases are funded by the Ministry increasing the operations grant every term – based on actual hours teacher aides work – and then requiring schools to specifically target that money to the teacher aide pay increases.

Therefore, there is no reason why teacher aides’ hours of work should be reduced because of the pay equity settlement. If you believe this has happened or might happen, call the NZEI Te Riu Roa Member Support Centre on 0800 693 443.

Pay equity backpay

On Wednesday 4 November 2020, teacher aides will receive their new pay equity rates and backpay to 12 February 2020.

A number of teacher aides are still working through regrading, and the regrading backpay won't come through until next year, everyone will receive backpay dating from 12 February for the automatic point-to-point translation to the new matrix. This is a huge milestone after years of collective effort and determination as NZEI Te Riu Roa members.

If, after receiving your payslip, you have any concerns about the backpay calculations for your point-to-point translation, your Member Support Centre can check the details(If you have only just joined NZEI Te Riu Roa, you may not receive the backpay until the following pay cycle). To avoid undue delays in checking your payslipemail nzei@nzei.org.nz and include: 

  1. A copy of payslip of 4 November that records the backpay that you have received, 
  2. A copy of a payslip from November of last year (if you were already working as support staff at that time) that shows your pay grade and step on the pay scale, and 
  3. A copy of your annualisation agreement if your pay is annualised. 

 In addition to the documents mentioned above, we will need to know the following information about your employment to give you an accurate estimate about the backpay you should have received on 4 November 2020. 

  1. How many hours per week are you employed for this year? If this has changed over the year, please let us know about this as well. 
  2. When did you start working this year?  
  3. What days of the week are you working and how many hours are you working on each day? 
  4. Have you had any salary increments in 2020? If you have had a salary increment when did this happen?  
  5. Have you worked any additional hours over and above your regular hours of work?  Can you recall or estimate how many additional hours you have worked this year? 
  6. Have you taken any leave without pay this year? 

Teacher aides should also be aware that the lump sum of backpay will incur a higher tax rate than usual, but most of this will be reclaimable at the end of the tax year (31 March 2021). More importantly, your higher pay rate that now reflects your skills and responsibilities will likely affect any Working for Families tax credits or benefits you receive. It’s important that you advise Inland Revenue of your new rates so your credits and benefits can be adjusted as needed. Otherwise, you may need to pay back any overpayment at the end of the tax year. Find out more here. 

But some non-members are going to miss out... 

The Ministry of Education has advised that up to 15% of teacher aides are neither members of NZEI Te Riu Roa nohave they signed a new Individual Employment Agreement that includes the pay equity settlement. Those teacher aides are not likely to receive the backpay and new rates on 4 November! If you have a colleague in that situation, please urge them to join NZEI Te Riu Roa without delay to ensure they are automatically covered by the Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement, which includes the settlement. Alternatively, they will need to arrange a new Individual Employment Agreement with their principal/supervisor - also without delay! 

15% pay equity

New pay rates

For teacher aides employed prior to 29 November 2019

Click here to download the pay table as a PDF

For teacher aides who first started on or after 29 November 2019

Click here to download pay table as a PDF

Other settlement details

How pay is determined - a new work matrix table

The pay equity settlement includes a new work matrix table to determine the pay grade a teacher aide should be on based on the work they are doing. This includes new grades A-D, with steps within each grade.

Download the work matrix here.

There will be no barrier to moving from B to C as currently happens. When teacher aides are appointed from now on, it will be using this new work matrix table.

As part of the implementation of this settlement, current teacher aides will have their grades and steps translated onto these new grades too. More details about this translation process are below.

The new work matrix table operates on a “pull up” not a “push down” basis and is designed to recognise the highest-level skills/demand/responsibility that a teacher aide has. If a teacher aide spends most of their time working within Grade A, but then regularly has a task that sits in Grade B, then they should be graded in Grade B as this is where their highest-level skill/demand/responsibility sits. You do not have to do every activity in a grade in order to be placed in a particular grade.

For example, Ann primarily works with a classroom teacher delivering Early Words and other specific tasks, but once a week she has to take a group of children to support their literacy learning. For this work she must take into consideration various interests and learning needs and make minor adaptions to set programmes accordingly. This would put her in Grade B.

Download the work matrix here.

The skills in this new work matrix were determined from more than 90 interviews with teacher aides done by NZEI Te Riu Roa members and staff and Ministry of Education staff, then checked with the sector. It reflects the jobs that teacher aides actually do, rather than what might be written in job descriptions or elsewhere.

As part of the settlement, the employer must provide accurate and written job descriptions. If it is a new position, the teacher aide will be consulted by the employer on the content of the job description.

The new work matrix recognises the importance of Te Ao Māori and responsibilities within that, and the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.


Pay grade translation process

All existing teacher aides who were working before 29 November, 2019 will be moved automatically onto the new pay equity pay grade and step based on the step held under the previous collective agreement.

Teacher aides will not have to do anything, unless you think you have been wrongly graded under the translation process. The Ministry of Education payroll will automatically move teacher aides on to the new grade and new pay rate.

If you are a teacher aide who worked prior to 29 November 2019, download this pay table.

If you are a teacher aide who first started on or after 29 November 2019, download this pay table.

Teacher aides employed on or after November 29, 2019 (after the settlement of the last collective agreement) will be translated as follows:

i. A teacher aide who is paid in Grade A (step 1) will translate to Work Matrix step A1.
ii. A teacher aide who is paid in Grade B (step 1) will translate to Work Matrix step B1.
iii. A teacher aide who is paid in Grade B (step 2) will translate to Work Matrix step B5.
iv. A teacher aide who is paid in Grade C (steps 2 to 7) will translate to the applicable step in Work Matrix steps C6-C10
v. A teacher aide who is paid in Grade D (step 7) will translate to Work Matrix step D1
vi. A teacher aide who is paid  in Grade D (step 8) will translate to Work Matrix step D6.

Watch this video explaining how teacher aides will be translated to new grades and steps as part of the teacher aide pay equity settlement.

If you think you have been wrongly graded under the translation process or under the new matrix (with its list of skills, demands and responsibilities), talk with your employer. Union members can also ring NZEI Te Riu Roa on 0800 693 443 and we will help and advise you.


Pay step progression

Under the new pay grades, progression still happens once a year for all teacher aides, enabling everyone to continue to move through the steps in their grade.

The new grading system recognises that ability and responsibility often grow with experience in the role. Teacher aides who reach Grade B Step 5 will then be able to move into and then progress through Grade C.

For example Ann would move up the steps in Grade B annually until she reached the new Step 5. Once she had been at Step 5 for a year she would move into new Grade C. This is now called Grade B-C on the pay scale. 

 If the employer considers that Ann’s role remains solely as Grade B of the Work Matrix they would need to inform her of the reason for this in writing.


Tiaki allowance (former dirty work allowance)

The teacher aide pay equity settlement includes a new Tiaki allowance (formerly called the dirty work allowance, involving the cleaning up of bodily fluids). This allowance recognises an aspect of teacher aide work that is integral to the dignity and support of some learners.

If a teacher aide regularly undertakes tiaki work, they are entitled to $2.59 per hour. This means that for every hour you work, you will receive an additional $2.59, regardless of whether tiaki work is undertaken in every hour worked. This operates like the first aid allowance.

If a teacher aide is not required to regularly undertake tiaki work but there is a one-off incident that requires a teacher aide to perform tiaki work, they are entitled to a daily allowance of $4.81.

Ann is a teacher aide and regularly undertakes tiaki work. She works 20 hours a week and receives $51.80 a week in addition to her pay.

Aroha is a teacher aide and only occasionally must undertake tiaki work. She will receive an allowance of $4.81 for each day that she does tiaki work.


Backpay and member-only benefit

The new pay rates in the settlement will be backpaid to 12 February 2020.

NZEI Te Riu Roa’s teacher aide pay equity negotiation team consistently pushed for back pay and acknowledgement of NZEI Te Riu Roa members’ tireless efforts in this pay equity process. Unfortunately, the Government’s position on this was immovable.

Ultimately, the negotiation team had to choose between continuing to fight over this issue and prolonging the process further, or bringing the rest of the settlement out to teacher aides which includes significant wins.

No pay equity settlements agreed so far have included union member advantage, because the philosophy of pay equity has been that all women have been disadvantaged historically and this requires redress.


Job security

Variation of hours

For teacher aides, not knowing how many hours of work they might have from term to term or year to year has been a significant source of job insecurity.

As part of this settlement, the annual variation to hours of permanent teacher aides will be limited to a maximum of 25%. The negotiation team sees this as a first step to addressing the serious job security issues that impact teacher aides.

Fixed-term employment

Interviews conducted last year showed that the use of fixed-term employment agreements in teacher aide work is common, meaning teacher aides often have little job security.

Information about schools’ use of fixed term agreements will be collected by NZEI Te Riu Roa and NZSTA so that guidance on their use can be developed for schools. NZEI Te Riu Roa members will be involved in this process.


Reviewing how schools are funded for teacher aides

The Ministry has agreed to begin a review into the way schools are funded for teacher aides, in consultation with NZEI Te Riu Roa members, principals and other key stakeholders including parents, whānau and the disability sector.

The Ministry has flagged that this work is complex and any change is likely to take at least two years.

It's important to note that schools will be provided extra funding to cover the pay changes outlined in this settlement.


Professional development

The Pay Equity settlement for teacher aides also means $2.29 million is available for teacher aides’ professional learning and development.

This is a boost to the originally agreed $790,000 teacher aide pilot professional development fund which was agreed under the settlement of the Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement last year.

The PLD is available to teacher aides from July 1.

According to the terms of settlement, wherever possible PLD should be provided in term and Christmas breaks. The fund provides for teacher aides to be paid for their time attending and for course fees.

The fund and PLD will be well-publicised to teacher aides and to their supervisors including principals, SENCOs, executive officers and Boards of Trustees, so that everyone is aware of this important opportunity for teacher aides in their career development.

It is envisaged that a wide-range of PLD will be available to cover the diverse needs of learners, teacher aides and schools (mainstream primary, secondary, special schools and kura) – for all levels of experience and with courses ranging from day workshops on subjects such as speech language therapy through to tertiary qualifications. We have included online and face-to-face options, gathered from feedback from teacher aides.

The pilot will also test the range of interest that exists, and the types of PLD which should be funded on a long-term basis.


Teacher aide job descriptions

NZEI Te Riu Roa have put together some guidance on what a job descriptions should look like for a teacher aide. This is to help ensure that your job descriptions reflect the work you do.

Settlement timeline

  • 2 - 14 June

    Zoom hui series to discuss the proposed settlement

    Zoom hui series for teacher aides to learn about the settlement and ask questions. Attendees will receive a $25 payment once the endorsement process is complete.

  • 15 - 19 June

    Online settlement endorsement voting

    Teacher aides will vote online to endorse the settlement

  • 24 - 29 June

    Electronic ballot to vary the collective agreement

    NZEI Te Riu Roa support staff members vote in an electronic ballot to vary their collective agreement to include the settlement.

  • By 3 July

    Result of the electronic ballot

    Support staff are notified of the ballot result.

  • From 3 July


    Teacher aides are translated to the new pay steps

    Teacher aides are automatically translated to the new pay grades. NZEI Te Riu Roa members will receive advice and support to make sure they are on the right grade.

  • By November


    Payment of new rates begins

    Payment of new rates begins, back-paid to 12 February. Some negotiated translations to higher steps may take effect later.

Resources to download