The Government has announce that hundreds of women working in education, who have fought for years to be paid fairly, are to get a pay rise of up to 30 per cent in a historic settlement for pay equity.
The New Zealand Educational Institute and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools.
“Almost all education support workers 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,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“This is about fairness. 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.
“In 1893, New Zealand led the world by ensuring women had the right to vote. In 2018 we are continuing the legacy of justice and fairness that has been the source of such pride for New Zealanders, by continuing progress toward truly equal pay for women."
Support workers are currently paid between $16.77 and $19.87 an hour.
The settlement would see the minimum hourly rate move to $21.67 with a new top step of $24.73 for those who have done four to nine years’ service.
Support workers with ten or more years’ service on 1 July 2018, will move to a new rate of $25.70 an hour.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said that this has been a long time coming for the women who had taken the Education Support Worker’s claim.
“The process for the women started under the previous Labour Government, before National scrapped the pay equity unit in 2008.
“This Government is committed to pay equity and lifting wages, particularly for our lowest paid workers.
“Ultimately, it’s about making sure that women get a fair deal in the workplace,” says Chris.
The settlement is expected to be ratified in the next month after support workers vote on it in the coming weeks.