Teacher Aide Pay Equity Claim (TAPEC) - SETTLED

Latest Updates

Tēnā koutou

As part of the teacher aide pay equity settlement (TAPE), a working group has been established to address issues around fixed-term employment. Both NZSTA and NZEI Te Riu Roa are members of this working group. 

We have commenced a  national review of our fixed-term employment resources, including how we provide advice to our members. 

There are some key points to consider to when offering a fixed term:

  • Ask yourself ’why is this role not being offered as a permanent appointment?’
  • Is there a genuine reason to place a person on a fixed-term employment? Is it based on reasonable grounds? Essentially does it adhere to the requirements under section 66 of the Employment Relations Act 2000?
  • Does your insurance policy require you to seek and follow appropriate advice, particularly in situations where a personal grievance has been raised? If so, and you have not done so, then it could affect whether the school is covered. Our advisers are very experienced and can help you review the letter of offer and whether it meets the requirements of compliance for fixed-term appointments.

One of the most frequently-used reasons for a fixed-term is based on funding arrangements. However recent case law (Morgan v Tranzit Coachlines Wairarapa Ltd [2019] NZEmpC 66) indicates that this is no longer considered a genuine reason, especially if it can be proven that there has been a consistent renewal of  contract funding  from year to year. As noted in the first bullet point, in these situations the appropriate question is  ‘why is this role not being offered as a permanent appointment?’

We acknowledge that it is common practice for schools to pool multiple funding streams to pay a teacher aide and that they rely on fixed-term appointments to manage the risk of uncertainty. Circumstances will vary from school to school and there will  be situations where a fixed-term appointment is appropriate due to fluctuating funding. However, it will be up to the school to provide the necessary evidence to validate the fixed-term appointment  and you should seek the appropriate employment advice before making such an appointment. 

Finally, as noted in our earlier bulletins and during most recent webinars, schools should not be arbitrarily reducing teacher aide hours for 2021 as this is likely to have an adverse impact on your teacher aide pay equity-tagged operational funding for next year.

Ngā mihi,

Patrick Ikiua, Regional Director (Northern) - Principal Advisor Employment

What is the Teacher Aide Pay Equity (TAPEC)?

Recognising the work of teacher aides

In July 2017, the New Zealand School Trustees Association along with the Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa entered into a joint process to examine the claim raised by NZEI that because teachers aides are mostly women their work is likely to be undervalued and underpaid.

We agreed to work in partnership to resolve the detailed and complex claim, following the Pay Equity Principles and the Equal Pay Amendment Bill to ensure the correct processes were used.

The process

During the investigation 842 schools were contacted, 800 job descriptions assessed, and 365 in-depth interviews were conducted. The process was thorough and collaborative to achieve an outcome that is robust, fair and equitable for the 22,000 teacher aides who work in schools and kura across the country.

From mid-2017 to mid-2019, NZSTA, the Ministry, and NZEI worked together to research the teacher aide occupation and the work of comparator occupations. The objective was to answer two key questions:

  1. Are teacher aides’ remuneration rates affected by gender-based undervaluation?
  2. If so, what is the extent of the undervaluation and how can it be corrected?

The findings

You can read the full report here

The conclusion of the investigation was that teacher aides’ pay suffered from gender-based undervaluation and needed to be corrected. That correction is now underway with a variation to the terms of the collective agreement being presented to teacher aides who are members of NZEI for approval.

Next steps

NZEI members are expected to vote on the variation to the Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement 2019-2022 in July. If the agreement is ratified, non-union members will be able sign up to the settlement through a new IEA. The terms of settlement include the following key elements:

  • Teacher Aide pay rates will increase to a range from $21.20 to $34.68 per hour, and be effective from 12 February 2020, for most teacher aides upwards this is an increase of 19-30% over the rates paid in 2019
  • The Tiaki allowance has been increased and made more accessible
  • Variation of hours of permanent teacher aides is limited up to 25% of their existing contract. Any excess of the 25% threshold would need to occur by mutual agreement or the surplus staffing provisions will apply 
  • The PLD Fund will receive a further funding increase in addition to the increases funding agreed provided in the settlement of the Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement 2019 – 2022
  • The settlement will be reviewed after three years.

Should the ratification process, proceed as expected then schools will receive additional funding by October 2020 and teacher aides will receive the new fair pay rates by November, backdated to 12 February 2020.

You can find further information about the settlement outcomes and fact sheets here.

Should you have any further queries please call our Advisory and Support Centre team: 0800 782 435 (Option 2). 

Operational Guidelines

Available to view here.

Archived Updates

Teacher Aide Pay Equity Claim – November Update

New TAPEC pay equity rates and back-dated payment will be paid to eligible employees on the 4th November 2020 pay cycle. To ensure staff are fully informed about the changes, we have created a TAPEC Factsheet here which includes information on the Tiaki allowance and professional learning and development, provides more certainty of work hours and outlines the longer term project work being undertaken jointly between NZSTA, MoE and NZEI. 

The Factsheet encourages employees to resolve any queries with their supervisor, but should they require more information,  we have provided contact details for a range of agencies able to provide further support.  

If you have any queries please contact our Advisory and Support Centre 0800 782 435 option 2.  

Download a PDF copy of this factsheet here.

27 November Update

Tēnā koe

The success of the Teacher Aide Pay Equity Settlement has brought about positive change which acknowledges the efforts of teacher aides in the Education Sector. School Boards and principals have been instrumental in helping implement this change which has been fantastic, and we commend your efforts and support as we work through these changes together alongside the Ministry and NZEI. 

As we head into the tail end of a busy year there is a key deadline date coming up, which all school Boards and principals should note. The closing date to apply for the Exceptional Translation Fund regarding regrading closes on Monday 30 November. Please submit all relevant documentation and applications before 5pm Monday for processing, any applications received later will likely not be considered.  

Click here to access the link for the application form, and please contact teacheraide.payequity@education.govt.nz for further information.

Ngā mihi,
Patrick Ikiua, Regional Director (Northern) - Principal Advisor Employment

23 November, 2020

TAPE Work Matrix Guide – helping you to implement the Teacher Aide Pay Equity Claim Settlement

The Ministry of Education, NZEI Te Riu Roa and NZSTA have developed a pay equity Work Matrix Guide to support the implementation of the TAPE settlement. This Work Matrix Guide can be used when creating a new teacher aide role, for annual performance reviews, and if a teacher aide requests a review of their grade.

Click here to access the Work Matrix Guide.

28th October, 2020

A reminder that fortnightly SUE reports come out tomorrow. This report includes the teacher aide pay equity settlement rates. 

Please check this report carefully to make sure your teacher aides are on the correct grade and step in the pay scale. 

If you need to make any changes for this pay period, you will need to make these by 29 October by filling out a NOVO31 form and sending this to Education Payroll. Any changes made after this date will not be reflected in the 4 November pay period.

Individual Employment Agreement Important Deadline 

Last week the Secretary of Education reiterated the need for non-union teacher aides to sign the latest  Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) by the 18 September 2020. Completion of the IEA by these teacher aides ensures that they receive the new pay equity rates  in the November pay cycle and the back payment from the 12 February 2020.  

The Teacher Aide Pay Equity settlement is a milestone event in the sector and recognises the value provided by these members of staff to their school communities.

School Boards and principals are encouraged to confirm the pay equity settlement and new rates with all teacher aides especially those who are non-union members. For more information you can register for one of our webinars and review the forms and resources which are available online, if you click here.

Ngā mihi nui

Patrick Ikiua​



Regional Director (Northern) – Principal Adviser Employment

Teacher Aide Pay Equity Settlement Implementation

The Ministry of Education has released an operational guideline for boards, principals, school administrators and teacher aides, which can be accessed here.

The next steps for school Boards are as follows:

  • Teacher aides who are non-union members and have not signed the new Individual Employment Agreement (IEA), must do so in order to automatically receive the new pay equity rates which will be effective on 4 November 2020. Schools will need to notify Education Payroll by 18 September 2020. You can access the new IEA and cover letter here.
  • Teacher aides who are on the maximum step for grade B will automatically translate to step 6 of the new B-C grade, unless you advise the teacher aide by 14 August 2020. Schools will also need to notify Education Payroll by 20 August 2020 that their work is solely within Work Matrix B.

Teacher Aide notification deadline Friday 14 August Work Matrix B-C step 5 or Step 6 and Progression within Matrix Grades

Kia ora koutou

Under the Teacher Aide Pay Equity Settlement variation to the Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement 2020, a new work matrix Grade B-C was created. The work matrix Grades B-C is an amalgamation of the former grades B and C. 

Within the pay grades the increase in steps for the hourly rates are automatic on the 12-month anniversary of each teacher aide. 

A school must undertake a role review process then notify affected staff within the two months of their anniversary date if a teacher aide current role is being maintained at Work Matrix B-C step 5 or is moving to step 6. This is a requirement as per Schedule 5 “Progression within the Work Matrix Grades” below. 

In the absence of the prescribed action being taken by the school the teacher aide will progress through the Work Matrix B-C pay steps on the 12-month anniversary of employment.

This update is to highlight the initial notification which must be completed by Friday 14 August 2020 and the ongoing procedure for progression within the Matrix Grades. 

The transition steps       

In the first instance, if teacher aides who are on Grade B step 2 in the Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement 2019- 2022 and:

  1. have been on that step for at least two years will
  2. transfer to Work Matrix B-C step 6 unless
  3. the school advises the teacher aides by Friday 14 August 2020 that their role remains solely in matrix B then
  4. the teacher aide will translate to Work Matrix B-C step 5

(Refer to clause 3A.5.2 Variation to the Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement 2020 – reproduced below) 

Schedule 5 Progression within the Matrix Grades 

As from 1 January 2021, progression through steps within the minimum and maximum rates that apply to each Work Matrix Grade will occur on a teacher aide’s anniversary date each year.  

Advancement is subject to the teacher aide meeting the standards of performance for the role. Where a teacher aide has not met the performance criteria of their role they must be notified two months prior to the progression date becoming due. Should you miss the two-month notification period, the teacher aide will be entitled to move to the next step within their grade. 

Matrix Grade B-C step 5 to step 6

Advancement from Matrix Grade B-C step 5 to step 6 is automatic after 12 months unless the school:

  1. considers the teacher aide’s role remains solely within Work Matrix Grade B and 
  2. has informed the teacher aide of this no later than two months prior to the progression becoming due.

(Refer to clause 3A.8.2 Variation to the Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement 2020 – reproduced below)

Please contact our Advisory and Support Centre 0800 782 435 option 2 – should you have any further queries. 

Ngā mihi nui

Patrick Ikiua

Principal Adviser Employment 

Translation to new Teacher Aide pay rates

3A.5.2  Teacher aides who were paid on Grade B, step 9 of the Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement 2017-2019 (step 2 in the Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement 2019-2022) and who have been on that step for at least two years, will translate to Work Matrix B-C step 6 unless the employer advises by 14 August 2020 that the role held by the teacher aide remains solely within Work Matrix B, in which case they translate to Work Matrix step B5.

Progression within the Matrix Grades for Teacher Aides

3A.8.2  Notwithstanding clause 3A.8.1 above, from 1 January 2021 teacher aides who on their anniversary date have been on the maximum step of Work Matrix Grade B-C step 5 for at least 12 months, will progress to step 6, unless the employer considers the teacher aide’s role remains solely within Work Matrix Grade B and has informed the teacher aide of this no later than two months prior to the progression becoming due.


Support Staff Overnight Costs for School Camps and Trips

The Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement 2019-22 and the Kaiārahi i te Reo, Therapists’, ATSSD and Special Education Assistants' Collective Agreement 2019 - 22 introduced new requirements for paying support staff attending overnight school camps and trips. These new payments are now required under employment law [refer: Ministry of Education school circular 2019/12].

This means that staff covered by these collective agreements who are working at an overnight camp or school trip are to be paid at minimum wage rates for those overnight hours, whether or not they are required to be awake and/or on duty.

The changes came into effect in December 2019 with the collective agreement settlements.  

The MoE have acknowledged that many schools may not have included these costs when planning camps that took place before the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown. Accordingly, as a transitional arrangement, the MoE will reimburse your school for the cost of paying your support staff for overnight hours at camps attended from December 2019 up to the end of term 2 2020. From this point onwards each school will need to cover these costs when planning for any future overnight school camps and trips.

Eligible schools must submit a claim for reimbursement by 1 September 2020 and transitional funding will be provided as part of your October 2020 Operational Grant.

The joint Ministry/NZSTA guidance is available here, which includes how to make a claim for the transitional funding. 

Paid member union meetings (PUMs) 20 July–13 August

Following  ratification of the teacher aide pay equity settlement, NZEI Te Riu Roa is holding PUMs for teacher aides covered by the pay equity settlement between 20 July and 13 August.

These PUMs are to help teacher aides understand and receive advice on the translation and regrading process. Teacher aides in remote schools will meet via Zoom – NZEI Te Riu Roa will advise members in these schools directly about Zoom call details. There will also be the usual larger gatherings on a regional basis.

There was an error in the PUMS  notification sent out last week. To clarify, coordinator roles are not part of the teacher aide pay equity claim, they fall under the administrative staff pay equity claim, which is currently in the investigation stage of the pay equity process. The teacher aide pay equity claim applies to teacher aides and anyone who does the work of teacher aides as described in the teacher aide pay equity work matrix- even if the role is called something different, such as ‘learning assistant’. The PUMs therefore are only for staff who are teacher aides.

Principals and boards will need to plan staffing levels to ensure they maintain service delivery during this period. 

This will also be an opportunity for NZEI Te Riu Roa to recruit teacher aides as union members. NZSTA recommends  principals address this proactively by letting all teacher aides know about the expectations of being informed in advance if any teacher aides are intending or thinking about going to one of these meetings. If a teacher aide  joins the union before attending the meeting, their membership has started from that moment. 

For details of the PUMs around New Zealand, please go to: https://campaigns.nzei.org.nz/pay-equity/teacher-aide-PUMs/#list

Teacher aide pay equity claim ratified and new IEA available for non-union teacher aides

NZSTA is pleased to announce that NZEI Te Riu Roa members have ratified (agreed to) a variation to the Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement that includes the teacher aide pay equity settlement outcomes.

The settlement applies to all staff designated as teacher aides at state and state-integrated schools and kura. 

In November 2020 NZEI Te Riu Roa members will automatically receive the new pay equity rates and back-pay (backdated from 12 February 2020) through the Collective Agreement. Schools will receive additional pay equity operational funding to meet the cost of these new rates.

If schools and kura do not use the additional pay equity funding for this specific purpose then the Ministry will recover these funds.

You are expected to offer all teacher aides who are not union members an Individual Employment Agreement (IEA), so they can access the settlement and receive the new pay rates in November. This will need to be done by the end of term 3.

This has been a positive and collaborative effort alongside the Ministry and NZEI Te Riu Roa, and we are committed to developing guidance, resources, tools, and support for all School Boards of Trustees.

Our priority is to help members understand these changes from the settlement outcomes and provide support in ensuring that all teacher aides have access to the benefits of this settlement and good employer practice. 

NZSTA recommends that schools and kura engage with their teacher aide staff now ensure preparedness for the transition to the new pay equity rates.

The link to the new IEA and the Ministry’s circular are linked.

To download the cover letter, click here.

More information will be available early in Term 3 from The Ministry’s website https://www.education.govt.nz/school/people-and-employment/pay-equity/teacher-aide-pay-equity-claim/  

For further advice and guidance please contact our Advisory and Support Centre on 0800 782 435.

Templates and Resources


Here is the link to the new IEA.

Letter of Offer - Teacher Aide Permanent 

For fixed term Teacher Aides, please utilise the Support Staff fixed term letters of offer HERE

Exceptional Translation Funding form



TAPE Webinar 1

TAPE Webinar 2

NZSTA Teacher Aide Pay Equity Update Webinar Slides

MOE's Operational Guidelines

Work Matrix Guide


Frequently Asked Questions

View the full list here.

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