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Full Pay Parity Coming as Promised, Well Kind Of

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Funding for Full Pay Parity Coming as Promised, Well Kind Of

Opinion article
Sarah Alexander
Monday Sept 4, 2023
and updated on Tuesday Sept 5.

Pay Parity Promise Chis Hipkins on Twitter

There are now new pay scales for full pay parity. Services that opt into the kindergarten funding rate must attest to paying their teachers the full kindergarten pay scale. 

Other funding options linked to no salary attestation requirement (base funding), and ersatz or fake pay parity (oddly given the names by the MoE of “parity” and “extended pay parity funding”) rates will continue to be offered. 

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Cabinet promised (Budget 2023 announcement) that from 1 November 2023 the same funding rates paid to kindergarten associations will also be paid to all centres that opt-in to pay their teachers on the full kindergarten scale.

As part of Budget 2023 press the Education Ministers Office announced that:

Services that opt-in to the full parity funding rates will be able to access this extra money for their staff from 1 November 2023. The full parity funding rates match the kindergarten funding rates and require opted in services to pay their teachers the full kindergarten pay scale.

Simon Laube and Natasha K drafted Ministry of Education advice recommending cost savings in ECE by restricting salary cost adjustments in funding to employers who were kindergarten associations only.  The MoE advice failed to consider the impact of lower funding rates (and teacher pay) on the ECE workforce, the qualified of ECE for children, and on teachers and their families

But in the Funding Handbook we see that most rates are not identical.

We were all welcoming this long-awaited announcement since it would see a reversal of a very harmful policy decision made in 2011 to place all teacher-led centres that are not under the control of a kindergarten association on a lower funding table to kindergartens.

On Friday afternoon last week, the Ministry of Education published the funding rates and salary scales for full pay parity. It was both a surprise and a shock to see that funding rates for kindergartens were still higher.

However, on Tues 5 Sept the Ministry made changes to the published funding rates, and on Thursday sent a bulletin notice out on its email system to inform service providers of this. The changes made kindergarten funding rates mostly within 1 cent of funding rates for other education and care centres.

But the rates are still not identical – which means all education and care centres continue to not be treated equally. Special privilege continues to be conferred on the licensed education and care centres operated by kindergarten associations that they choose to claim funding for on the ‘kindergarten’ funding rate tables.

TABLE 1: 20-Hour ECE Full Pay Parity funding rates for education and care services (namely teacher-led centres and hospital based ECE) with all-day licences as shown in the ministry’s funding handbook as at Tues 5 Sept 2023.

20 Hours $ per child per hour1 July 2023 to 30 Nov 2023From 1 Nov 2023From 1 Dec 2023From 1 Jan 2024From 1 Mar 2024
 Kindy AssnsEveryone elseKindy AssnsEveryone elseKindy AssnsEveryone elseKindy AssnsEveryone else
100% cert teachers$15.98$15.46$16.30$16.35$16.62$16.61$17.34$17.33
80-99% cert teachers$15.22$14.70$15.54$15.59$15.85$15.84$16.54$16.53
50-79% cert teachers$13.89$13.37$14.21$14.26$14.50$14.49$15.13$15.12
25-49% cert teachers$12.20$11.68$12.25$12.57$12.78$12.77$13.33$13.32
0-24% cert teachers$11.15$10.63$11.47$11.52$11.71$11.70$12.21$12.20
Source: ECE Funding Handbook – Appendix 1

Table 2 shows that full pay parity is not being offered to ECE teachers outside of kindergartens from 1 November. Instead, the option for centres to provide funded full pay parity to their teachers will not start until 1 December 2023.

TABLE 2: Full Pay Parity Salary Scales for Salary Attestation by Services

STEPQUALIFICATIONFROM 1 DEC 20221 NOV 20231 DEC 2023
  Kindy AssnsEveryone elseKindy AssnsEveryone else
1P1, P2, P3 Entry$55,358$51,358$57,358$57,358
2 $57,544$53,544$59,544$59,544
3P3+ Entry$59,948$55,948$61,948$61,948
4P4 Entry$62,133$58,133$64,133$64,133
5P5 Entry$65,794$61,794$67,794$67,794
6 $69,776$65,776$71,869$71,869
7 $74,040$70,040$76,261$76,261
8 $79,190$75,190$81,566$81,566
9 $83,413$79,413$85,915$85,915
10P1, P2, P3 Max$89,490$85,490$92,175$92,175
11P3+, P4, P5 Max$94,000$90,000$96,850$96,850
Source: ECE Funding Handbook – Appendix 3

The match in pay rates for full pay parity from 1 Dec 2023 is not guaranteed for two reasons:

  • The kindergarten teachers’ collective agreement base salary scale for teachers has yet to be adjusted to maintain pay parity for kindergarten teachers following ratification of the primary and secondary school teacher collective agreements.
  • Whomever may form the next government, may choose not to support adjusting salary attestation rates for non-kindergarten teachers in line with kindergarten and primary teachers to maintain pay parity.

TABLE 3: Minimum Salary Scale for Management Positions

STEP1 DEC 20221 NOV 20231 DEC 2023
 Kindy AssnsEveryone elseKindy AssnsEveryone else
Centre Head Teacher (Manager)$98,175$94,175$101,120$101,120
Reliever Centre Head Teacher (Manager)$96,175 $99,120 
K3 Senior Teacher$103,327$99,327$106,427$106,427
K4 Senior Teacher$112,770$107,770$115,123$115,123
Source: ECE Funding Handbook – Appendix 3

Your comments and questions?

Please go to comments and question page for members here – the new pay scales and funding.

Supporting information and references

  • A second pre-election promise and a commitment in the government’s Early Learning Action Plan was dropped to help pay for ‘pay parity’ – to regulate for 80% qualified teachers in ECE centres.
  • Even before bargaining commenced for the renewed collective agreements for primary and kindergarten in 2022, the Ministry had set aside “over $380 million so that pay parity can be maintained for all registered early learning teachers?” (Read article on Stuff: “Why Kindergarten Teachers are Joining the Nationwide Strike”)
  • Press Release from the Beehive, 18 May 2023: “The full parity funding rates match the kindergarten funding rates and require opted in services to pay their teachers the full kindergarten pay scale.” “Services that opt-in to the full parity funding rates will be able to access this extra money for their staff from 1 November 2023.”
  • Ministry of Education website stated on 4 Sept 2023: ” This funding creates a third opt in funding rate that is the same as the kindergarten funding rate.” “The new funding rates will be available from 1 November 2023.” Services that opt into this funding rate must attest to paying their teachers the full kindergarten pay scale.” “The funding will be available to services who attest to paying their teachers at all of the Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers and Senior Teachers’ Collective Agreement (KTCA) pay steps (steps 1-11 and management steps K2-K4).” One would assume on reading this that the KTCA referred to is the current one and not the one that expired on in July 2022.
  • However, in a new press release Minister Jo Luxton defined pay parity as paying teachers “in line with the pre-settlement kindergarten salary steps from 1 November 2023,”. In other words, less than current kindergarten teacher pay rates agreed to before the Government’s May Budget. The pre-settlement salary steps referred to by Minister Luxton come from the Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement (12 July 2019 to 11 July 2022) that expired over one year ago.

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