Teacher aides have voted overwhelmingly to endorse an historic pay equity settlement that includes pay increases of up to 28%. The endorsement follows a pay equity claim that NZEI Te Riu Roa initiated with the Ministry of Education in 2016.
The endorsement vote followed two weeks of webinars in which teacher aides across the country scrutinised and discussed the settlement.
Added to Living Wage pay increases won during collective bargaining late last year, most teacher aides will now receive pay rises of 23-34% across the course of 2020. That’s an increase of $4 to $6.60 an hour, recognising the value of teacher aides’ skills, responsibilities and experience that has been undervalued on the basis of gender. Schools will be funded to pay the increased rates.
Teacher aide Ally Kemplen, who was on the NZEI Te Riu Roa negotiating team, says the endorsement is a significant milestone.
“It was really heartening to see how teacher aides responded to the settlement after four hard years of work to get this settlement across the line,” she says.
“This settlement will be life-changing for many teacher aides, mostly women, whose work has been undervalued on the basis of their gender for decades.”
“We’re really hopeful that this settlement can create the momentum needed for other school support staff to get their pay equity claims settled as quickly as possible.”
During the endorsement period for teacher aides, school administration staff and kaiārahi i te reo took their own step closer to pay equity with the signing of terms of reference for their two pay equity claims between NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education.
The signing of the terms of reference kick starts the job assessment phase of the pay equity process. Starting early next term, interviews will be conducted with admin staff and kaiārahi i te reo to get a full understanding of the scope and variety of their work and to ensure they are then properly valued for the complex and demanding jobs they do.
Now that teacher aides have endorsed their pay equity settlement, NZEI Te Riu support staff members will vote to vary their collective agreement to take in the terms of the settlement. Following this, all teacher aides will be automatically transferred to new pay steps.
All teacher aides will start receiving the new pay rates by November 2020, backdated to 12 February 2020.
In addition to pay increases, the teacher aide settlement changes the way skills are assessed, includes a more flexible and increased Tiaki allowance (formerly “dirty work” allowance), makes changes to how much hours can be varied and increases professional learning and development funding. A commitment has also been made to investigate central funding, the use of fixed term contracts and the development of career pathways.