ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal


Early Childhood Alert No.6, 2019

Editor's note

Some big employment law changes will affect ECE service providers, teachers, and all employees. You can't ignore the changes and its important to get up to speed very quickly and access the right information and support.

This newsletter features articles on the key areas of employment law change that are relevant to early childhood education employers and employees. 

And we are all getting very excited about the Managers and Owners Summit 2019 that is coming up on May 31st!  ECE service providers and leaders from around the country will be gathering in Auckland for a day of top-level discussions and learning. We thought you might like a sneak preview of topics and some of the speakers who will be presenting. If you haven't already booked for this we advise doing so now or risk disappointment.

Dr Sarah Alexander
Chief Executive 
ECE National Network ChildForum

Did you miss the last newsletter on Easter activity ideas, lunch-box guidelines, safe food and prevention of infant choking?
It can be found here


Featured Event

The Managers and Owners Summit 2019 is on Friday 31 May, 10am - 6pm. It will be held in Auckland (approximately 10 minutes from the airport). 

The Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has been invited.  Topics and speakers include

  • Budget 2019 debrief and discussion
  • What’s happening in the NZ Economy - Tony Alexander, BNZ Chief Economist 
  • ECE service funding matters Q & A - Damian Edwards, MoE Associate Deputy Secretary 
  • Managing finances and Q&A - Lena Thomson, Director NZ Childcare Finance 
  • Gatekeeper and gatekeeping: Exploring the key roles and functions of early childhood managers - Dr Mary Moloney, Dept Reflective Pedagogy, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Ireland
  • Manual handling and keeping staff and every adult safe at work - Nadia Tu’itahi and Melissa Caskie, Edusafe 
  • My ECE Awards Ceremony: The 2018 “ECE Services of Excellence”
  • Quality programmes, quality teachers: Early childhood teacher preparation degrees - Dr Wendy Boyd, School of Education, Southern Cross University, New South Wales
  • Including men as teachers for children in our service - David Wright, Karaka Early Learning Centres
  • Growing authentic connections with our community of learners - Clair Edgeler, Beststart education leader
  • Operating on a small and personal scale - Val Morrison, Small is Beautiful Preschool
  • Supporting better outcomes for children and families requires commitment and passion - Debbie Willis, Gingerbread Cottage Homebased 
  • Directions for National’s policy on early childhood education - Nicola Willis MP, National's spokesperson for ECE 
  • Lockdown procedures for home and centre-based services and difficulties that can arise - Dr Sarah Alexander, ChildForum
  • The technology included in our centre for child and adult safety and centre security - Avind and Aarti Lal, Little Feet Childcare 

 > Go to the Event registration page   


Rest and meal break law changes 

The new laws coming in May 2019, are a roll back to the pre-2015 position requiring staff to be given rostered breaks. It means that staff will no longer be seen to be letting each other and children down when they go off for a coffee, toilet break or lunch. The changes support health and safety.

If staff numbers at your service only just meet the minimum adult-child ratio requirement then you will need to look at hiring more staff to cover those on rest and meal breaks.

You may not want all your staff to take breaks at the same time. Therefore, carefully consider the timing of breaks and with the agreement of staff record break times in employment agreements.

Check all current employment agreements to be sure that all agreements reflect and do not breach the new law on the number breaks that must be given.

Keep reading to learn more 

> Individual members information 

> ECE Service members information


Join Us

Should you not hold a current personal membership or an ECE service membership with the Early Childhood Education National Network ChildForum, join online at  or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and request a copy of the membership application form. 


Domestic violence leave

All employees, including teachers, cooks and cleaners, affected by domestic violence are entitled to up to 10 days of paid domestic violence leave per year to deal with the effects of domestic violence. And employees may ask for short-term flexible working arrangements, covering hours, location of work, and duties.

Keep reading to learn more in relation to how this leave works in the context of the ECE sector

> Individual members information

> ECE Service members information


Trial and Probationary periods for new staff

90-day trial periods are restricted to employers with less than 20 employees (from 6 May 2019). Another option is to put new staff on a probationary period.

This article outlines the options and what you need to take particular care in doing as an Early Childhood Service provider and as an employer

> ECE Service members information


Union rights, staff rights and employer (service provider) duties 

In early childhood education, the union that represents early childhood teachers and education support staff is NZEI. You may have cleaners, cooks and staff that belong to, or are interested in joining other unions

Here's information for your early childhood service on obligations and rights under the Employment Relations Act (it includes changes that take effect from 6 May 2019)

  • Your obligations to provide union information to prospective staff and all new employees
  • Treatment of staff who belong to a union
  • Cases of unjustified dismissal
  • 30-day rule
  • Obligation to enter into a collective agreement if asked by a union
  • The rights that union representatives have, what you have to do in response, and what you can’t be asked to do
  • Financial matters
  • Problems or questions?

> ECE Service members information


Have you opened a new ECE service recently?

A call out to everyone who has opened a new ECE service recently or who is in the process of doing so.
Did the licensing process work smoothly in terms of the clause in the Regulations that states "the Secretary (of the MoE) must take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that the decision to grant or refuse to grant a probationary licence for the centre is made within 30 days of the making of the application"?

How many days from making your application was your service sitting ready to open before
(1) the MOE completed its inspections, and
(2) the licence was granted so you could open or you were told what you needed to do?
And, if your application was "considered incomplete' by the MoE – were you told this asap so no time was wasted or only after the 30 days?

> Add your comments by clicking here to go to the discussion page on this topic 

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