The road to pay equity for teacher aides
Teacher aides have endorsed their pay equity settlement!
See below for a summary of the timeline for the pay equity claim for teacher aides and those doing the same or similar work, agreed between NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education in September 2017.
The Ministry agrees there are grounds for a case
Goal: The employer (Ministry of Education) agrees there are grounds to believe teacher aide work has been undervalued.
Progress: Complete. We’re on the road to pay equity!
What happened: The teacher aide negotiating team met with the Ministry of Education on 20 October 2017.
The teacher aides provided evidence and data that their work is mostly done by women and that it is undervalued as “women’s work”, they highlighted the history of the work. They showed that these factors have had a real impact on pay rates for teacher aides.
The Ministry of Education agreed there are grounds to begin the pay equity claim.
Goal: Gather information about the work teacher aides do, especially the parts of the work that has been undervalued.
What happened: In Term 1 of 2018, 20 teacher aides conducted interviews in over 80 schools across the country. They interviewed teacher aides, the people who direct their work, principals and BOT chairs.
The interviews really let the skills and knowledge of teacher aides shine – especially the ones which are commonly overlooked in “women’s work”, such as emotional intelligence and effort.
Building a picture
Goals: We'll use the information gathered to get a clear picture of what the work of teacher aides involves so that an appropriate comparator can be found.
We will ensure that the skills that are commonly overlooked in “women’s work” are included in this picture.
What happened: We collated all of the information we had gathered through the interview process and created a General Areas of Responsibility document that was sent out to schools.
Goal: We will find male dominated jobs (‘comparators’) to compare the work to.
Appropriate comparators may include:
- those doing the same or similar work or;
- different work that involves similar skills, responsibilities, efforts and conditions and are paid more than teacher aides.
What happened: NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education jointly chose residential youth justice workers, school caretakers, Customs officers and Corrections officers as comparators.
Seven teacher aides travelled across the country to interview these different groups and gather a huge amount of information on the range of skills and knowledge they use for these jobs. We are now in the process of assessing this information before moving to negotiation.
Goal: The negotiations to settle the claim will take place.
What happened: The NZEI Te Riu Roa teacher aide team and the Ministry of Education concluded negotiations on 12 February 2020. In May 2020, teacher aides received their proposed pay equity settlement. All teacher aides voted on the proposed settlement then all NZEI Te Riu Roa members on the Support Staff in Schools collective agreement voted to vary their collective agreement.
Winning pay equity
Teacher aides have now won their pay equity settlement! Teacher aides will be automatically translated to new pay steps and payment of the new rates will begin by November and be back-paid to 12 February 2020.