School administrators are set to receive a momentous pay increase, recognising the historical undervaluation of their work, should a proposed pay equity settlement be approved in a vote next month by employees covered by the claim.
NZEI Te Riu Roa raised the pay equity claim with the Ministry of Education in 2018 and together a comprehensive investigation was undertaken, confirming school administrators are paid less than male-dominated workforces performing work of the same value.
The new equitable rates would deliver employees an average increase of approximately 22 percent.
In real terms, under the proposed settlement, a school administrator currently earning $26.20 per hour would rise to $31.99. The new rates would be effective from 20 August 2021 which was when the evidence of undervaluation was confirmed by the two parties.
The settlement also includes a commitment to improving professional learning and development and systems of funding school administrators.
Administrators do essential work in schools, they are the face of the school for parents, provide support at all levels and are the glue that holds the operation of the school together. This claim covers administrative work in finance, human resources and the front office, as well as principal executive assistants, board secretaries, and co-ordinators including sports, homestay, and gateway
South Auckland school administrator and pay equity negotiation team member Julie-Anne Roberts was heartened that people now entering the profession would know that the work they contribute is valued.
“School administrators constantly go above and beyond and that’s been even more the case since the pandemic began.
“We work alongside our community, interact with students, parents, and staff, coming up with unique solutions for our school. Many of us are making do on part-time or term-time only hours,” says Roberts.
NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Liam Rutherford says this is a life-changing win for the 11,000 school administrators across Aotearoa and was only achieved because union members supported and pursued the claim.
“The evidence uncovered during the investigation was stark but proved what we already knew – the work of school administrators has been undervalued for a long time because it’s a female-dominated workforce,” says Rutherford.
“The pay equity process is fundamental in putting that right. School administrators have waited a long time for this moment. This is another step towards ensuring all women in the education sector are fairly paid for the mahi they do.”
Pay equity settlements for the education workforce are ongoing, including the kaiārahi i te reo claim. Claims for education support workers and teacher aides were finalised in 2020.