Teacher aides get significant pay boost with pay equity settlement

Teacher aides will be getting a pay boost after years of negotiations over a pay equity claim.

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It follows this week’s action by the teachers’ union calling for better pay and job security. Source: Breakfast

The claim was first lodged in 2016 and today Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the new rates.

More than 22,000 teacher aides work across New Zealand's schools, mostly women, Mr Hipkins says.

"Teacher aides are frontline workers who work closely with some of our most vulnerable children," he says.

"They play an important role in our schools as we respond to the challenges of Covid-19 and get the country back on its feet."

Last year, teachers' union New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) said 90 per cent of workers earned less than the living wage of $22.10 per hour.

The new rates will range from $21.20 to $34.68 per hour, Mr Hipkins says.

While the settlement has been agreed by the Ministry of Education and union New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI), NZEI members will now vote on whether to accept it.

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"The settlement, if accepted, will acknowledge the value of the skills, responsibilities and demands of teacher aide work," Mr Hipkins says.

As part of the pay equity claim, an investigation found teacher aides - mostly women - were being paid less than men for doing work that is different but on equal value, the Ministry of Education says.

The new pay rates will be effective from February 12, 2020, and include an extra allowance for those performing tiaki duties (assisting children soiled with bodily fluids).

Teacher aides will also get more professional learning and developing opportunities and more certainty around their hours.

The settlement will cost $348 million over the next five years.