The Office of Pre-Primary Education

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Unpaid work and getting paid for what you do

ECE Services - click here to go to an article for employers on payment for staff time outside of usual work hours

An employees' rights and responsibilities

A teacher’s work is never done. It’s about good work ethic. It’s all about the children.clock

These are phrases that are heard all too often in early childhood education when referring to unpaid work that is done by teachers.

It is almost an expectation in some services that teachers spend hours of their own time setting up, cleaning, attending staff meetings, attending whānau evenings, and this it something that has become commonplace and accepted by many in our profession.

But what exactly are we entitled to? Should teachers be spending hours of their own time attending staff meetings, attending a conference that is compulsory or a team building event, writing learning stories, or cleaning or setting up the environment before their shift has even started.

Legally, the answer is complex and depends on the type of contract that a teacher is employed on.

Morally, employers have an obligation as a 'good employer' to ensure their staff are not over-worked and are adequately  compensated for the volume of work that they do.


  1. Legal requirements if you are paid a salary
  2. Legal requirements if you are paid a wage
  3. What if you don’t have enough time to do all your work during normal working hours?
  4. What if you don’t mind working for free?
  5. Tips for approaching your employer
  6. What to do if your employer still refuses to pay for additional hours worked


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