Around 30,000 school support staff, kaiārahi and therapists are set to receive a pay boost after months of negotiations with the Ministry of Education.

Of these, 17,000 employees who are currently earning below the living wage, will receive a minimum base rate of $21.15 per hour (the current living wage) which will amount to a 19.5 per cent pay increase.  

All other members earning at or above $21.15 per hour are offered an increase of 3 per cent on printed rates.

This is the first offer from the Ministry of Education since the collective agreements covering support staff expired in July.

If the offer is accepted by NZEI Te Riu Roa members, the pay increase will take effect from November 29, with payment of the new rates beginning in March 2020.

The Secretary for Education Iona Holsted said the Ministry, NZEI Te Riu Roa and the New Zealand Board of Trustees Association (NZSTA) have been working hard to come to an agreement.

"We are committed to addressing low pay, and this is a step towards ensuring that all New Zealanders receive fairer pay and employment conditions that allow for a decent standard of living,” Holsted said in a statement.

"Additional funds will be provided to school boards of trustees to enable this sizable increase.

"We will work closely with NZSTA to provide information and support to boards to make sure they understand the details in the new agreement."

Auckland teacher aide Ally Kemplen, who is on NZEI Te Riu Roa's support staff negotiating team, said the offer is a step forward.

"I'm so proud of how hard we've all fought to get this offer.

"We've been writing to MPs, campaigning in our schools, talking to parents and getting media attention.

"That tireless collective action has been crucial," she said.

"Support staff are absolutely vital to our schools.

"We work closest with children who have the most complex learning needs, but we've been undervalued for too long.

"This offer is a significant first step toward acknowledging that and valuing support staff properly.

"Ultimately it is now up to members to vote whether to accept the offer next week."

Kemplen said that while members will be glad to receive a collective agreement offer to vote on, this doesn't change the need for a teacher aide pay equity settlement to be negotiated as quickly as possible.

"This offer doesn't fix the broken system that means so many support staff have no job security and go without pay outside of the school term."

We need the Government to address this urgently by negotiating a fully-funded pay equity settlement for teacher aides as soon as possible, with swift movement on other support staff pay equity claims too," she said. 

Support staff include the likes of teacher aides, administration staff, librarians, kaiārahi i te reo, therapists and technicians.

Key points of the offer:

  • A minimum base rate of $21.15 per hour for all support staff and kaiārahi i te reo members currently earning less than this rate
  • All other members earning at or above $21.15 per hour are offered an increase of 3 per cent on printed rates
  • All members to receive a further 3 per cent increase on printed rates in 12 months time
  • For those currently on the lowest rates, the offer means pay increases of up to 19.5 per cent
  • The Ministry has also offered a professional learning and development fund of $500,000 a year from 1 July 2020 to fund a pilot teacher aide learning and development fund