Media Releases

Fair Pay Agreement process kicks off for early childhood sector

01 May 2023

A Fair Pay Agreement process for the early childhood sector has been kicked off after more than 5000 workers signed in support of it. Over 30,000 early childhood kaiako and kaimahi will be covered by this agreement that will set out consistent pay and working conditions across the entire sector.

NZEI Te Riu Roa, representing kaiako and kaimahi across the early childhood sector, sent the initiation application to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment today (Monday 1 May). This is the first step in the process towards bargaining an FPA.

Early childhood teacher Margaret Barclay has worked and campaigned in the sector for nearly 50 years. She says the sector is diverse and fragmented, and she is excited to see this important announcement as she contemplates retirement.

"Having taught in several different services, I’ve been privileged to work in some very inspirational teams with many, many tamariki and their whānau. I am aware of the wide range of working conditions and remuneration in ECE. Now this is our opportunity to bargain which will help achieve quality early childhood education across the motu for every child out there."

Sandie Burn, an early childhood representative for NZEI Te Riu Roa and a kindergarten teacher, said that it was a big moment for the sector, as it brought all ECE kaiako and kaimahi together.

"We will take the lead from the sector on what they want to achieve through the agreement process, but teachers have already told us that pay parity, non-contact time, teacher-to-child ratios, recognition of the special skills and contribution of our teachers of te reo Māori, and health and safety are important issues for us all,” says Ms Burn.

Parent of young children, Violet Wilson-Baird, says all early childhood kaiako and kaimahi deserve decent pay and working conditions.

"The kaiako at my daughter’s centre absolutely amaze me when to give their all to the tamariki in their care. They really are a part of our village. My hope as a parent is that this process brings positive change to the sector and improves working conditions so our teachers and the growing communities they are a part of can thrive.”