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Our pay equity campaign for educators

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The road to pay equity for teacher aides

We're in the final stages of negotiating a pay equity settlement for teacher aides with the Ministry of Education. In late 2019 and early 2020, a team of teacher aides has been negotiating a settlement on behalf of their NZEI Te Riu Roa colleagues and all teacher aides. 

When the team has a proposed settlement they will be in touch to discuss it. The Ministry will have a process to follow for sign off too, that includes other Ministries and the government. 

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. 

  • Phase 1

    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.

  • Phase 2

    Information gathering

    Goal: Gather information about the work teacher aides do, especially the parts of the work that has been undervalued.

    Progress: Complete.

    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.

  • Phase 3

    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.

    Progress: Complete.

    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.

  • Phase 4

    Finding comparators

    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.


    Progress: Complete.

    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.

  • Phase 5


    Goal: The negotiations to settle the claim will take place.

    What will happen: This will be a particularly crucial time for the teacher aides, the Ministry of Education and the Government.

    In establishing pay equity, other conditions of employment cannot be reduced.

    Support for students must not be reduced and schools must not be placed in financial disadvantage as a result of these pay increases. 

    When there is a proposed settlement, your team will be back in touch to discuss it.

    This is the time when our negotiation team needs your support – a strong and large membership is one of the best ways to do this. Have you joined us yet?

    Progress: Negotiations for a pay equity settlement began 18 December and have continued in January and February 2020. The teacher aide team and the Ministry concluded negotiations on 12 February. 

    The agreement is now going through a Government sign-off process. Following this, the details of the proposed settlement will be shared to teacher aides and meetings will be held around the country for all teacher aides to discuss and endorse the settlement. 

  • Winning pay equity

    We're on the final stretch to winning pay equity!