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Achieving pay equity should be easier now

The recent passing of the Equal Pay Amendment Act provides a handy new framework for achieving equal pay, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.

Last month, following a three-year claim process, the union’s teacher aide members celebrated the successful settlement of their own pay equity claim, achieving pay increases of between 23-34%. These increases will be paid later this year, with effect from 12 February 2020.

But the union says many other predominantly female roles in education are still significantly underpaid and undervalued.

“The Equal Pay Amendment Act lays out a clear process for claims like the one brought by teacher aides, with the aim of making it easier and quicker for other female-dominated workforces to achieve pay equity,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford.

We’re hopeful these changes will mean other groups won’t have to go through a three-year long process to get fair pay like our teacher aides had to.

“In 2020, workers across every sector are still paid far lower than they should be simply because they and their colleagues are primarily women. A large number of people working in education are in this situation, and today’s news means it will be easier for them to take action.”

“I want to acknowledge Kristine Bartlett and the many other strong, brave women who have campaigned tirelessly for equal pay up to this point.”

“We know, from the result of our teacher aides’ claim, the huge positive impact of these settlements. As well as the obvious financial benefit of paying people what their work is worth, pay equity changes people’s perception of these jobs and of the people who do them.”

“In 2020 it’s extremely clear that no one should be paid less because of their gender. Fixing the problem won’t happen overnight, but after today we’ll have a clearer framework to do it.”

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