Wage rates and pay scales.
Minimum adult wage and living wage
The minimum wage for a worker in NZ is $22.70 an hour (from 1 April 2023).
From 1 September 2023, the Living Wage is $26.00 an hour.
How much does an early childhood teacher earn in their first year?
In your first year of teaching after gaining your qualification and registering with the Teaching Council for a practising certificate you may earn as little as the minimum adult wage ($22.70 an hour). But if your centre has opted in to receive funding for the first pay step for pay parity with school and kindergarten teachers then you should be paid at least $24.69 an hour (this increases to $27.58 from 1 Dec 2023). After completing a full-time year of work (or equivalent) you can expect to go to the next pay step.
Join our Teacher Facebook group for discussions and to follow what’s happening to pay.
Pay Parity salary amounts
Scroll down this page to see the salary scales for the 6 pay steps of pay parity and for extended partial pay parity.
Here are the funding rates paid to services who agree to pay their teachers full pay parity.
Contents – on this page you will find:
- How to work out what pay step you should be on
- Teacher pay scales and pay parity
- Manager pay scales and pay parity
- Are you paid a salary but asked to work more than 40 hours a week?
- Teacher base pay scale
- Manager pay scale
- Salary rate changes overtime
Home-based visiting teacher, educator, and nanny pay rates
Visiting teachers must be qualified and certified teachers. Homebased ECE is a teacher-led service. The government does not support pay parity through higher funding for home-based services. But home-based agencies must remain competitive with centres to attract teaching staff, and therefore salaries are usually very similar. Costs that visiting teachers and coordinators incur while carrying out their job, such as phone use and travel, are usually reimbursed by the employer.
Home-based educators are usually independent contractors and therefore don’t have employment protections, provision for sick leave, holiday pay, etc. A home-based educator can have up to 4 children. Educator charges vary widely between $6. – $15 per hour. What an educator earns depends on what they can charge families and what families agree to pay, as well as how much of the subsidy collected by the agency is passed on to them. A home-based educator may find that the money is good (and quite possibly earn more than a teacher who works in an education and care centre), but out of the income received there can be significant costs if the care is taking place within the educator’s own home (some of these costs are tax deductible).
Nannies are often employed directly by families, while homebased agencies can provide support and supervision which is funded by the Ministry of Education.
ECE centre teacher pay scales and pay parity rates
Teacher-led centres can opt-in to receive higher funding amounts from the Ministry of Education, and in return must agree to pay all their qualified teachers who hold a current practising certificate at least at the salary amounts shown in the pay scales below. Centres can opt in to pay all their teachers at least the:
- first Step 1 amount
- partial pay parity at Steps 1 to 6
- extended partial parity at Steps 1 to 11 and a management salary step at least at the teacher Step 9 amount
- full pay parity
Before accepting any teaching position, clarify with the employer that they offer at least Full pay parity and not partial or no pay parity. Ideally your centre will provide its teachers with FULL pay parity.
Teachers can negotiate and ask for higher pay above the minimum pay parity amounts. In areas where there is a shortage of ECE teachers who are fully qualified an employer can be much more willing to negotiate pay.
How to work out what pay step you should be on
- Check your qualifications. See in the salary scale what your starting pay step would be depending on if you have a teaching qualification only, or if you also hold a higher qualification(s).
- Next check how much previous paid work experience you have had, if any. Previous experience must have occurred within the last 10 years and be directly relevant to your teaching duties and responsibilities. Previous experience can be credited as half-credit up to a maximum of two pay steps. So, 4 years full-time relevant work experience, will put you up two pay steps; or 1 year full-time will count as six months of service. Some examples of relevant work experience include working as an unqualified teacher in an ECE centre, teacher education lecturers, teacher aides, special education workers, social workers, zoo education officers.
- After each full-time year of working as a qualified and certificated teacher in ECE, or the equivalent of equivalent to 2080 hours worked part-time over more than one year, you can progress up one additional pay step.
- When you complete a further qualification(s) you are entitled to be moved to the step reflective of your improved qualification(s) and credited years of service.
Partial Pay Parity Salary Scale (First Step only: Steps 1- 6 only; and Steps 1 -11 + Manager also called extended partial pay parity)
|STEP||QUALIFICATION||FROM 1 JAN 2023||FROM 1 DEC 2023|
|1||P1-3 Entry level for a beginner qualified teacher who holds a practising certificate||$51,358||$57,358|
|3||P3+ Entry level for beginner teacher who also holds a Level 7 qual that is not a teaching qual or holds an honours degree in teaching||$55,948||$61,948|
|4||P4 Entry level for beginner teacher who also holds a Masters degree of teaching or two Level 7 qualifications that are not teaching||$58,133||$64,133|
|5||P5 Entry level for a beginner teacher who holds a subject or specialist level 9 qualification on the NZQF – masters or doctorate||$61,794||$67,794|
|10||Maximum pay step for P1-3||$75,230||$81,112|
|11||Maximum step for P3+, P4 & 5||$79,413||$85,457|
|Manager||Manager minimum pay amount for a head teacher also known as a centre manager, also includes managers responsible for multiple centres – K2, K3 ,and K4||$79,413||$85,457|
Full Pay Parity Salary Scale
|STEP||QUALIFICATION GROUP||FROM 1 Jan 2023||FROM 1 NOV 2023||Full pay parity FROM 1 DEC 2023|
|1||P1-3 Entry level for a beginner teacher who holds a practising certificate||$51,358 $24.69 hour||$51,358||$57,358|
|3||P3+ Entry level for beginner teacher who also holds a Level 7 qual that is not a teaching qual or holds an honours degree in teaching||$55,948|
|4||P4 Entry level for beginner teacher who also holds a Masters degree of teaching or two Level 7 qualifications that are not teaching||$58,133|
|5||P5 Entry level for a beginner teacher who holds a subject or specialist level 9 qualification on the NZQF – masters or doctorate||$61,794|
|10||Maximum step for P1-3||$75,230|
|11||Maximum step for P3+, P4 & 5||$79,413|
|Management||K2 Centre Manager||$79,413||$94,175||$101,120|
|K3 senior teacher for staff at more than 1 centre||$79,413||$99,327||$106,427|
|K4 manager of the K2 and K3 managers||$79,413||$107,770||$115,123|
Read: How to ask for more pay and negotiate a pay increase with your employer
Learn more about: Pay Parity
Join our Pay Parity Facebook group
Are you paid a salary but asked to work more than 40 hours a week?
QUESTION: Can a centre meet the Ministry of Education salary attestation rules by paying a teacher at the stated salary amount for their pay step when the teacher works 40 hours a week and attends 2 hourly staff meetings each week (total hours per week are 42)?
ANSWER: No, an employer must pay more. The stated salary minimum amount for a pay step should be calculated as a salary or wage for someone working 40 hours, not more than 40 hours.
For example, Step 1 minimum pay rate is a salary of $51,358 or $24.69 hour. If a teacher is working 42 hours a week, then for the purpose of salary attestation the employer must be able to show they have paid both the minimum salary amount and $24.69 per hour for any hours above 40. So, someone who works 42 hours a week should be earning a minimum of $53,922. The salaried amount for a teacher, can also be calculated on a pro rata basis. That is, the same calculation would apply if that teacher was only working 30 hours per week and the service would therefore be able to attest to paying the teacher at least $38,5164 (24.69 x 30 x 52).
Kindergarten teachers’ collective agreement pay scales
Base-scale for teachers in Kindergarten Associations
|STEP||QUAL GROUP||FROM 1 DEC 2022||FROM 3 JULY 2023||FROM 1 DEC 2023||FROM 1 JULY 2024||STEP||FROM 2 DEC 2024|
|11||P3+, P4, P5M||$94,000||$95,400||$96,820||$98,262||10||$100,000|
Management scale for teachers in Kindergarten Associations
1 DEC 2022
3 JULY 2023
1 DEC 2023
1 JULY 2024
2 DEC 2024
|K2 reliever (less than 10 weeks) centre manager||$96,175||$97,648||$99,120||$100,637||$102,600|
|K2 centre manager||$98,175||$99,648||$101,120||$102,637||$104,600|
|K3 Senior Teachers||$103,327||$104,877||$106,427||$108,023||$110,305|
|K4 Senior Teachers||$111,770||$113,447||$115,123||$116,850||$119,679|
Employment benefits and job perks
In addition to pay, employment benefits may be provided, such as:
- Free tea/coffee and/or lunch
- Paid staff social outings. This is a perk if it is optional for you to participate and not expected by your employer.
- Car park. This is a perk if the employer covers the cost of renting or leasing the park. If it is on land owned by the service or available to staff or users of the service then it’s not technically a benefit that forms part of the pay package.
- Gym membership or subsidised membership at a local gym
- Flexibility in work hours. This is a big benefit for many working in early childhood education, who may have young children or school aged children or elderly parents and other family responsibilities.
- Free or subsidised childcare. It is common for discount of around 50% to be given to staff by employers. Few services offer entirely free childcare except in hard-to-staff areas and not all will allow staff to enrol their child at their service.
- Paid doctor visits
- Health insurance cover
- Income protection insurance cover
- Check out if your ECE employer offers more than the minimum legally required conditions under employment law for:
- Annual leave
- Sick leave
What is not a perk or benefit of the job – but rather should be treated as part of the job
- Non-contact time
- Professional development leave and course fees paid where directly related to the work of the teacher.
- Payment of cost of renewing teaching practising certificate, first aid refresher courses, etc.
- Uniform or items of clothing with the service logo – unless wearing the uniform is optional this is not a perk of the job but a requirement of employment.
The value of working in a happy supportive professional atmosphere
People who are attracted to working in early childhood education and care usually decide on this occupation for social reasons; they like people and they like children.
Social support, friendship and having colleagues you can rely on really do matter!
Working with children as part of a team is a reason why many people go for early childhood teaching over primary teaching. In primary teaching you can be in a classroom with a group of children alone whereas in early childhood you are part of a team!
Why we should not rely on the KTCA for pay parity
The government has backtracked on being the part-owner of kindergartens and says kindergartens are not state services. It sees teachers as being employed by kindergarten associations even though it negotiates a collective agreement for teacher pay and conditions with the NZEI. Therefore, in case the government ever chooses to walk away from the pay negotiating table with the union at any time in the future, it is necessary for pay parity for ECE teachers to be enshrined in law so no government can renege on the commitment to pay parity.
The government needs to make a legal commitment to pay parity for teachers in kindergartens and non-kindergarten teacher-led centres pegged to what public school teachers earn.
Attestation rate changes overtime
The table below shows changes in salary attestation rates for teachers in different qualification groups since 2015.
2017 (from 1 July)
2019 (from 1 Aug)
2020 (from 1 July)
2021 (from 1 July)