NZ takes a major step toward pay parity for ECTs, leaving Australia asking ‘are we next?’

NZ takes a major step toward pay parity for ECTs, leaving Australia asking ‘are we next?’

by Freya Lucas

May 13, 2021

Certified teachers who are in the lowest pay bracket and working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in New Zealand are now one step closer to achieving pay parity with their equivalents in kindergartens, following a pre Budget announcement made by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.


Pay parity for early childhood teachers (ECTs) who are working in ECEC services is a ‘manifesto commitment’ for the presiding Government, and one which is reflected in New Zealand’s Early Learning Action Plan


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


“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,” he added. 


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 NZ$49,862 to NZ$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,” Mr Hipkins continued. 


Such a change would benefit teachers earning from around NZ$50,000 to around NZ$65,000, with some getting increases of as much as 17 per cent.


Mr Hipkins was clear about the Government’s “unequivocal expectation” that centres receiving the funding pass it on to teachers in full. 


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