Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) 

Ngā whakaōritenga whakawhiwhi mahi (EEO)

What are Equal Employment Opportunities?

Legislation was originally introduced because it was recognised that some groups are disadvantaged in employment, and actions should be taken to enable them to have equal access to employment opportunities. 

The Public Service Act 2020 outlines the expectations of organisations in promoting diversity and inclusiveness in schools, through employment policies and practices, to develop and foster a workplace that is inclusive of all groups.

The good employer requirements of the Public Service Act 2020 requires that organisations must;

(a) operate an employment policy that complies with the principle of being a good employer; and

(b) make that policy (including the equal employment opportunities programme) available to its employees; and

(c) ensure its compliance with that policy (including its equal employment opportunities programme) and report in its annual report on the extent of its compliance.

A good employer is an employer who operates an employment policy containing provisions generally accepted as necessary for the fair and proper treatment of employees in all aspects of their employment, including for—

(a) the impartial selection of suitably qualified people for appointment (except in the case of ministerial staff); and

(b) good and safe working conditions; and

(c) an equal employment opportunities programme; and

(d) recognition of—

(i) the aims and aspirations of Māori; and

(ii) the employment requirements of Māori; and

(iii) the need for greater involvement of Māori in the public service; and

(e) opportunities for the enhancement of the abilities of individual employees; and

(f) recognition of the aims and aspirations, employment requirements, and the cultural differences of ethnic and minority groups; and

(g) recognition of the employment requirements of women; and

(h) recognition of the employment requirements of people with disabilities; and

(i) recognition of the importance of achieving pay equity between female and male employees; and

(j) recognition of the importance of decisions about remuneration being free from bias including, but not limited to, gender bias.

(Section 73 Public Service Act 2020 Good Employer Requirements, Section 75 Promoting diversity and inclusiveness)

A number of Education Collective Agreements have EEO clauses in the appointments section.

For more information and resources on diversity and inclusivity, please see Diversity Works website.


Developing an EEO programme - the seven steps

There are seven steps in developing or maintaining an EEO programme, over a period of 2 years. Steps 1 to 5 should happen in the first year, and steps 6 and 7 in the second year.

Step 1: Developing an EEO policy statement

An EEO policy statement can be developed by undertaking the following actions.

  • The full board undertakes some EEO training to raise their awareness of the issues.
  • The board develops a draft EEO statement which is circulated to all teaching and non-teaching employees for comment.
  • The board prepares a final EEO policy statement (on the basis of the feedback) which is signed by the chairperson of the board and a copy is distributed to all employees and board members. Parents and caregivers are informed of the EEO policy statement.
Step 2: Appointing or selecting an EEO person

The board appoints or selects a person or persons with the delegated authority to coordinate the development of the EEO programme and inform all employees of it.

The EEO person can be either an employee or a board member, although it is practical to have someone who is in the school on a regular basis. Appointment or selection of an EEO person should be based on that person's interest in EEO and commitment to it. Time should be allocated for EEO responsibilities, and the EEO person should have the support of the board and of the school's other employees.

The EEO person should:

  • set and meet deadlines for the EEO programme
  • analyse EEO data
  • write EEO reports
  • attend and report at relevant board and staff meetings and at EEO network meetings
  • be involved in the EEO committee, where there is one
  • undertake EEO training, as needed.

The size of the school will determine whether more than one person is needed to co-ordinate the EEO programme.

Step 3: Consulting with employees

Consultation with employees is an important aspect of the EEO programme.

  • EEO training is provided for all employees, to make them aware of EEO issues.
  • A meeting is set up, with employees invited, to determine the best way to establish continuing contact and discussion about EEO issues between the employees, the authorised EEO person and the board. (In larger schools, this ongoing contact could be through a representative EEO or equity committee).
  • In larger schools EEO "target group" networks are established. These meet regularly and provide information for the EEO person or the EEO committee.
Step 4: Establishing an employee database

The following means of collecting data will help establish an employee database.

  • Two personnel forms which include EEO data are prepared, one for existing employees and one for applicants to positions in the school.
  • The personnel form for existing employees is circulated to them, along with an explanation of why the data is being collected.
  • The personnel form for applicants is sent to potential employees when they apply for positions in the school.
  • Data is collected and analysed for EEO purposes by the EEO person, and results are reported to the board

If an exit interview is held when an employee resigns, this may provide additional EEO data.

Step 5: Establishing a monitoring system

A monitoring system can be established using the following means:

  • internal monitoring of the EEO programme occurring through staff meetings
  • reports to the board with appropriate feedback and follow-up
  • timelines for actions are established, and people are made responsible for those actions
  • the person responsible for the EEO programme provides reports to both employees and the board on progress of the EEO programme at staff meetings, target group meetings, and board meetings
  • external monitoring of the EEO programme occurs through the Secretary for Education, community reporting, and union involvement.
Step 6: Developing or reviewing personnel policies and practices

Developing or reviewing personnel policies and practices requires the following steps.

  • The board develops or reviews personnel (teaching and non-teaching) policies and practices to ensure that EEO principles are included. Personnel areas include: 
  • recruitment and selection
  • promotion and career development
  • staff training and development.
  • The board modifies or endorses the existing personnel policies and practices.
  • Finalised personnel policies and practices are made known to all employees.
Step 7: Establishing specific EEO objectives

Specific EEO objectives (both short-term and long-term) are established for all existing employees and potential employees. These include objectives which identify the employment requirements of:

  • women
  • Māori
  • Pacific Islands people and other ethnic groups
  • people with disabilities.

Ideas for specific EEO objectives

The following is a list of ideas specific to certain areas that may need attention in the school. Each board will establish its own EEO priorities, which may or may not feature here. The board is not expected to set a huge range of EEO objectives to be completed in one year. Setting priorities, and ensuring that a few clearly defined EEO objectives are achieved, is the recommended approach.
Objectives for all employees (teaching and non-teaching)

In establishing EEO objectives for both teaching and non-teaching employees, there is a need to:

  • recognise, in recruitment and selection procedures, skills and knowledge acquired in paid employment, in the home, and in the community
  • ensure that employment contract provisions on appointments are known and followed
  • make a range of school responsibilities, such as timetabling, taking assemblies, and organising outdoor education, available to all teachers on an equal basis
  • monitor the position of all employees in the school in relation to EEO policies and practices
  • encourage all employees to discuss the development and implementation of the equal employment opportunities programme
  • encourage all employees to undertake training and development
  • encourage all employees to seek promotion and to take advantage of career development opportunities.
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