About Pay Parity and the Campaign

No ECE teacher should be paid less than another teacher with identical qualifications and meeting the same professional requirements because they work in ECE. 
But it's a fact that ECE is not valued highly. Therefore, ECE teachers can be paid less - a lot less. 
It is time to stop taking for granted the goodwill and the kindness that teachers have for children, families, and their employer and ensure no teacher in ECE is underpaid. 
(Quote: Dr Sarah Alexander, 14 July 2019). 


Our Position on Teacher Pay

Our position is that all teachers whose qualifications are recognised for working in publicly-funded licensed ECE services must not be paid less than what a teacher who works at primary or secondary level is paid.

Pay parity for qualified and certificated teachers in ECE means parity with other teachers – the same pay scale reflecting the same teaching qualifications recognised by the Teaching Council and the same professional certification process.

What you can do

Join the official Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pay.parity

Check the names of service providers who are prepared to pass on funding for pay parity to their teachers and have agreed to be held accountable.  Unfortunately while many other service providers may say they want more funding and support pay parity, they have not agreed to be held accountable to pass on funding and pay their teachers at pay parity rates.  

The new Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 provides the ECE sector with an additional avenue to pursue pay claims. The Act allows individuals, not just unions, to put in equal pay claims. Individuals can appoint someone to represent them.  Mr David Haynes is representing teachers to make their individual claim should they wish to be represented. David has prepared a claim that seeks a minimum of kindergarten teacher (KTCA) rates for all certificated teachers working in ECE. The claim includes additional pay elements from the recent Teacher Aides’ settlement. David will also be asking for any settlement that results from this claim to be backdated. Tap or click here to go to the online registration form 

Our aims

1. To get the MoE to fund at kindergarten rates all centres who agree to pay all their qualified and certificated teachers at least at the KTCA rates.

2. To get the MoE to fund all home-based services for pay parity for their certificated teaching staff.

3. To ensure ECE teachers are paid as teachers and service providers are accountable - therefore, we promote the use of the attestation of payment of teacher wages/salaries on higher salary steps method. Attestation should be in accordance with the KTCA pay rates.  

What we have done so far

We got the ball rolling for a political and sector focus on achieving pay parity for ECE teachers.  We organised the first national meeting in July 2019 in Wellington. At this meeting NZEI reps tried to get us to support its pay equity campaign (pay based on gender) and argued that pay parity (pay based on being a teacher) was not achievable. So, we realised it was up to us to work to generate interest, and do the research and thinking for pay parity. We formed a small pay parity steering group, and worked to transform thinking and create a sea change, thereby getting the issue of pay parity to the top of the political agenda.  

In May 2020 the Government announced that the minimum salary attestation rate for teachers in teacher-led centres would no longer be based on the first step of pay for a teacher under the Early Childhood Collective Agreement (the agreement was overdue for renewal and NZEI and Te Rito Maioha had failed to negotiate a new agreement with employers).  Instead from now on salary attestation would be based on the Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers and Senior Collective Agreement which the Ministry of Education is a signed party to on behalf of the State Services Commissioner.   

The Pay Parity Petition Petition - find out more and see who signed
The names of ECE services who support Pay Parity for their teaching staff
The ECE Pay Parity Book - read online or print a copy  
Open Letter by teachers to Prime Minister Hon Jacinda Ardern and to Hon Chris Hipkins 
Stuff article: Same qualifications, same duties, different pay
Stuff article: Teachers are teachers
Stuff article:  Our pay is the lowest of the low
NZ Herald opinion: Why would anyone mind low pay and hours of unpaid work when stepping into the shoes of an early childhood teacher

In May 2021, Government announced it would offer a higher funding rate to teacher-led centres that paid their teachers at the appropriate pay step of the first 6 pay steps of the KTCA.  Only funding for the first 6 pay steps is a baby step in the right direction toward pay parity. (We argue that this is not enough and government is going too slow).   

Key facts

  • NZEI has shown little interest in ECE that is not kindergarten over a long period of time, and only started talking about 'pay parity' once ChildForum's work had persuaded the Minister of Education to start using that term. NZEI ignored an approach from David Haynes suggesting a discussion about pay parity. They tried to close down ChildForum's Pay Parity campaign and instead get the Steering Group to support their unfocused initiatives. They tried to take the more than 15,000 signature strong pay parity petition started by teacher James Lochead-MacMillan, which had been supported by ChildForum, and present it as their own.
  • The Ministry of Education has the ability to implement pay parity now. 
  • There are service providers who agree to be accountable for matching wages to pay parity rates to receive funding at the same level as kindergartens.
  • The effects of an absence of pay parity for many ECE teachers is harmful to the quality of ECE for children and outcomes.
  • Government has a dominant influence on what teachers are paid in all ECE services, including privately-owned services.
  • The question to ask is not how much it will cost to fund pay parity, but when will the use of teachers as cheap labour to make cost savings in ECE, end?
  • The ECE teacher remuneration 2020 survey results show significant pay disparities. The report can be found at https://www.childforum.com/reports/1868-ece-workforce.html 
  • Continuing to provide funding for ECE teachers to have pay parity only if they are employed by a Kindergarten Association is an illogical and unjust approach. Furthermore, the Kindergarten Regulations 1959 upon which a kindergarten was defined as distinct from other early childhood centres do not exist anymore.

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari, he toa takitini (Success is not by the work of one, but by the work of many)

See other articles by different people, campaign updates, and more in the pay parity category on our website. 

Are you interested in joining us? 
Become a member and also gain access to our significant online knowledge base 

Membership Options


Who is this for?
Teachers - Student Teachers - Parents
$78.00 one year
$145.00 two years
Your own personal username and password.
Includes access to research library

ECE Service Provider  

Who is this for?
Service providers with one or more licensed ECE services
Starting from $198.00 for one year
Your own unique username and password.
Includes access to research library 

Researcher Membership or
a Library Subscription

Who is this for?
Libraries and organisations $250 annual 
Researchers $145.00 for two years
Access to over 20 years of NZ-International Research in ECE journal issues and articles