Pay Equity for Ministry of Education Support Workers | Mana Taurite

Pay Equity Settlement for Ministry of Education Support Workers

The terms of settlement for Ministry of Education support workers represent an historic and life-changing moment in what has been a 12-year battle.

Ministry of Education Support Workers were the first education sector group to achieve a pay equity settlement, setting the precedent to allow all subsequent claims to be possible. 

NZEI Te Riu Roa members and staff sitting on a couch with Jacinda Ardern.

On September 19, 2018, the 125th anniversary of Suffrage Day, the Ministry of Education support workers voted to ratify their first pay equity settlement.

The 329 support workers directly employed by the Ministry of Educaton spent several years in pay equity processes under a previous Labour Government, before the National Government scrapped the pay equity unity in 2008 and refused to consider pay equity claims in collective agreement negotiations.

It wasn’t until 2015, following the successful Terranova proceedings taken by New Zealander of the Year, Kristine Bartlett, and the then Service and Food Worker’s Union, that NZEI Te Riu Roa filed a pay equity case in the Employment Relations Authority on behalf of Ministry-employed support workers.

The Wins

After two years of wrangling and negotiating, we had our long-awaited settlement. You can read the full terms of settlement here. 

The settlement included:

  1. An immediate average pay increase of 27% and further increases over three years for all education, communications and behaviour support workers employed by the Ministry of Education
  2. Agreement to the principle of guaranteed minimum hours, starting with a minimum of 5 hours a week for all support workers on permanent variable hours.
  3. Agreement to a new four step pay scale so that support workers reach higher pay rates faster, with a fifth step recognising support workers with 10+ years’ experience.
  4. A qualifications and recognition of experience framework was added to the collective agreement in 2020.

Other past campaigns

Check out more of the progress that NZEI Te Riu Roa members have achieved together.