The milestone pay settlement for teacher aides is both good news for gender pay equity and for valuing the education of disabled children, says Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
The pay rates have negatively impacted women disproportionately who make up most of the teacher aide workforce so this is a welcome increase and also lifts the status of those working with disabled children.
During the COVID-19 crisis, home and community support workers who work with disabled people have been officially recognised as essential workers.
“In a school setting where disabled students may be at risk of falling through the education gaps, teacher aides are also essential,” says Tesoriero.
“Teacher aides help focus on the learning needs of individual disabled students. They can help ensure that disabled children are included in learning experiences and school activities which leads to better educational and social outcomes.”
The increased pay will likely attract and retain more people in the role creating a more skilled and experienced workforce.
“We cannot afford to underestimate the benefits of paying fair wages throughout the disability sector,” says Tesoriero.