Tukunga pāpāho

Historic pay equity settlement for school librarians and science technicians

06 Pou 2023

School librarians, library assistants and science technicians came together today with the Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti, to witness the signing of an historic pay equity settlement at the offices of NZEI Te Riu Roa in Wellington.

The settlement follows a comprehensive two-year investigation conducted by NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education that confirmed the value of the skills, responsibilities, and experience of librarians, library assistants and science technicians has been significantly undervalued because of their gender.

The settlement includes pay increases of up to 40 percent which cover more than 1,200 librarians and library assistants and approximately 400 science technicians.

Other benefits include a parental payment, as well as work on how these roles are funded, the professional development they need, and research into how these roles can better support schools and kura.

School librarian Sasha Eastwood, a member of NZEI Te Riu Roa and a part of the settlement negotiation team, said that reaching this point was an empowering and significant moment for her and for all school librarians.

“Finally bringing about increased remuneration which corrects long held, sex-based undervaluation will mean a greater sense of financial independence for me personally. This settlement shows the value of my role in my school and the education sector.”

Also present at the signing was science technician Sheryl Fitzsimons. She said she loves her work and knows it is appreciated by the other teachers and students, but for a long time she felt that it was not financially valued.

“The school science technician's pay equity settlement revaluation will increase my pay by 30 percent. This is a welcome and much needed gain.”

President of NZEI Te Riu Roa Mark Potter agreed.

“This settlement brings us another step closer to ensuring that no one in the education sector is paid unfairly for working in roles that society has perceived to be ‘women’s work’.”

Science technicians support the functioning of school science departments. Their behind-the-scenes work includes setting up equipment, making chemicals for experiments, ensuring experiments will work properly, and purchasing supplies.

Librarians and library assistants mahi include helping students find and use information and library resources, responding to queries, and developing and delivering information literacy sessions.

These proposed settlements are part of ongoing pay equity claims in the education sector raised by NZEI Te Riu Roa. NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education have successfully settled pay equity claims for school administrators and kaiārahi i te reo in 2022, education support workers in 2018 and teacher aides in 2020. Work on the claim for school teachers and principals is underway.


The new pay equity rates will see librarians and library assistants receive pay increases of between approximately 10 percent to 38 percent. For science technicians, their pay increase would be between approximately 20 percent to 40 percent.
As an example, a school librarian who is currently earning $26.30 per hour would see their income rise to $32.70 per hour, while a science technician currently on $22.92 would move to $30.39.