QUESTION 1: WHAT DO PEOPLE IN THE ECE SECTOR EARN?
The average pay of ECE teaching staff was $26.78 an hour before tax. Pay rates ranged from $17.00 to $96.00 an hour (median $26.00).
The lowest earning staff reported earning less than the minimum adult wage - for example, an on-call teaching assistant reported pay of $17.48 an hour before tax. (At the time of this survey the minimum adult wage in NZ was $17.70 an hour).
There were teachers in-training on $17.70 an hour. There were qualified and certificated teachers with five or more years of teaching experience earning as little as $18 - $22 an hour before tax. The highest earning staff were mostly in senior positions.
Why are any staff earning less than the minimum adult wage? This needs to be further investigated. (Note that a union survey in 2018 identified that some unqualified teachers in centres were being paid below the minimum adult wage. The Ministry of Education’s response to NZEI’s findings was that affected teachers should contact the Labour Inspectorate.)
Investigation is also needed as to whether teacher-led centres are making correct attestations of teachers’ wages when making their funding claims, and how well attestations are audited by the Ministry of Education.
For the protection of teaching staff against wage exploitation, will the Ministry of Education be concerned to take steps to monitor or will it turn a blind eye to underpayment of teaching staff in publicly-funded services that it licenses? Does there need to be a mandated wage rate that all qualified and certificated teachers, regardless of employer, must at least be paid? These are questions that need to be discussed and considered by policy decision-makers.