Major step to pay parity for early learning teachers


Certificated teachers on the lowest pay in early education and care services will take another leap towards pay parity with their equivalents in kindergartens, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said in a pre-Budget announcement today.

“Pay parity for education and care teachers is a manifesto commitment for Labour and is reflected in the Government’s Early Learning Action Plan. It addresses the obvious pay gap between teachers in early education, child care centres and their equivalents in kindergartens,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We started the process last year and will continue to work towards it over successive Budgets this term.

“It’s only fair that teachers with the same qualifications carrying out the same work get paid equally. These changes will address difficulties with recruitment and reduce turnover in education and care services as fewer teachers leave for higher pay elsewhere. This will help enable teachers to provide the consistent and secure relationships children need.

“This Government is committed to delivering salary increases to lower paid workers and supporting pay parity, while carefully managing the books and paying down debt. The goal is to lift wages and address historic inequities in the workforce while protecting jobs,” Chris Hipkins said.

Existing education and care service funding rates will be increased from 1 July 2021 alongside the minimum salary required to be paid to qualified and certificated teachers. The minimum moves from $49,862 to $51,358 per annum.

“Another set of higher funding rates will be made available from 1 January 2022, if services agree to pay teachers in line with the first six pay steps of the same collective agreement kindergarten teachers belong to. Such a change would benefit teachers earning from around $50,000 to around $65,000, with some getting increases of as much as 17%.

“We have an unequivocal expectation on centres receiving this funding that it is all passed onto teachers.”

Budget 2021 funding of $170 million over four years to help deliver pay parity builds on the $151.1 million provided for improving teacher pay in Budget 2020.

“The Government will continue to work with the sector to consider what further changes are needed to the ECE funding model to sustainably implement pay parity.”

Funding has also been set aside to work with kōhanga reo to improve pay.

“Improving pay for staff in kōhanga reo is also important in light of the Crown’s Treaty obligations. The Crown intends to work collaboratively with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust to agree how best to make this work in kōhanga reo.

“Pay parity is at the heart of the work we are doing to ensure those on lower wages are getting paid what they deserve for the job they do. This is consistent with the Government’s approach to public sector pay in the current fiscal environment, as announced last week.”

More information can be found here: