On Tuesday 14 August 2018, the government signed a terms of settlement document with trade union The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), which confirms a pay increase for 329 support staff, primarily women, who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand prime minister, said: “Almost all education support [employees] are women, and they do vital work helping young children with severe learning and behavioural challenges to learn. I am delighted to say they will finally be paid fairly for the crucial work they do.”
Currently, education support employees are paid between $16.77 (£8.71) and $19.87 (£10.32) an hour; under the terms of the new settlement, the minimum hourly rate of pay will increase to $21.67 (£11.26).
Employees who have between four to nine years of service will receive a new rate of pay of $24.73 (£12.85) an hour, and staff who have 10 or more years of service as of 1 July 2018 will earn $25.70 (£13.35) an hour.
“This is about fairness,” continued Ardern. “All the parties of government have committed to pay equity for all women in New Zealand, and to making it fairer and easier for groups of women to bring pay equity claims.”
The settlement is to be ratified in the next month after affected support staff have voted on it in the coming weeks.
Chris Hipkins, education minister, added: “The process for the women started under the previous Labour government, before [the] National [party] scrapped the pay equity unit in 2008. This government is committed to pay equity and lifting wages, particularly for our lowest paid [employees]. Ultimately, it’s about making sure that women get a fair deal in the workplace.”