Pay Equity Claim

Multi-Employer Pay Equity Claim

The Equal Pay Amendment Act (2020) introduces a practical and accessible process to raise and consider claims of systemic sex-based pay undervaluation in pay in female-dominated occupations.

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament on 19 September 2018 and came into force on 6 November 2020. It allows workers to make a pay equity claim using a process aligned with New Zealand’s existing bargaining framework. By making court action a last resort, the approach lowers the bar for workers initiating a pay equity claim and uses a collaborative process more familiar to unions and businesses.

Under the Act, employers, workers, and unions negotiate in good faith, with access to mediation and dispute resolution services available if they are unable to reach agreement.

You may be aware that for some time we have been working on the pay equity initiative.  Subsequent to the new amended Act, early in November a Pay Equity Claim from NZEI members has been lodged under this new legislation.  

This is a claim raised with multiple employers.

21 January 2021 - Pay Equity Claim update

This update is only relevant to you if NZEI Te Riu Roa lodged the Pay Equity Claim with you/your Centre on 6 November 2020, and you have authorised Te Rito Maioha to act on you/your Centre’s behalf.

As you will be aware, the pay equity claim was lodged with a significant number of employers and the legislation requires all of the employers to work together.  There is a requirement to develop a Multi-Employer Pay Equity Process Agreement and to decide whether the claim is arguable.  The Act requires this to be done within 45 working days unless an extension of time is notified.

On 22 December, on behalf of the employers who have authorised us to act as their representative, we notified NZEI Te Riu Roa of an extension, as follows:

“On behalf of these employers through Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand, Montessori Aotearoa NZ and Barnardos, we are seeking an extension.   The reasons we need to extend the timeframe of this claim is to allow us to:

  • develop a Pay Equity Process Agreement with the other named employer parties to the claim;
  • the timing in consulting across the wide-spread employers over the Christmas and New Year breaks/holidays with many services’ shutdown over this period being complex;
  • determine the arguability of the claim and for this all these employers need time;
  • work with you to understand the scope of the claim.

For these reasons, the employers named in this notice and in accordance with section 13R of the Equal Pay Act (1972), we are extending the date by which we will reach a view on whether these claims are arguable, by 80 working days, or until on or before 17th May 2021.”

We will keep those who have authorised us to represent them informed of next steps once the working group of representative organisations (like ourselves) meet to discuss and develop a Multi-Employer Pay Equity Process Agreement early in 2021.


I am not aware that as an employer, we have received this pay equity claim. Do you know if we have received such a claim?

The union NZEI Te Riu Roa lodged a Pay Equity Claim on 6 November which affects all teachers who are members of NZEI and all employers/Centres who have any staff members who are NZEI union members. You should be aware of this claim and should have received the Pay Equity Claim via email from NZEI if you employ any staff at your Centre/Service who are members of NZEI. If you did not receive the claim then it could be for a couple of reasons:

  1. You do not employ any staff who are members of NZEI;
  2. NZEI do not have the correct email address for your Centre/Service, so were not able to get the claim to you. This is likely to be an error and it would be worth contacting NZEI.

Some employers do not know if their staff members are members of NZEI because it is possible for staff to pay their fees directly to NZEI, without the employer being aware of their union membership status. If you are uncertain you can contact NZEI and ask them if any of your staff are members of the union.

I’d rather not be involved with this process. Can we just opt out?

You can opt out of the multi-employer process provided you have good reasons based on reasonable grounds – but this won’t mean you won’t have to address the claim. It will mean that you will deal with the claim with the union separately from the other employers. You won’t be able to share costs of bargaining and of advice with the other employers if you opt out – you will be working through the process with the union separately.

Our centre’s teachers are all covered under NZEI claim. No representation needed for us thanks.

If you employ teachers who are members of NZEI then you are correct, they will be represented by NZEI in this claim. However, employers need to be represented themselves on behalf of their Centre/Service. We as a membership organisation are representing our members, any employers who are party to the ECECA, and any other employer who would like to be represented. If you do not choose Te Rito Maioha to represent your Centre/Service then you either need to choose another organisation who will represent you or you can represent yourself. However, our recommendation is choose an organisation who can represent your Centre/Service. This will be a complex, lengthy and costly process, involving an in-depth understanding of legislation. It will involve many discussions, decisions and meetings with the union and all other organisations who are representing employers/Centres/Services.

We would like to confirm that we choose not to be involved with the process, we will be negotiating separately.

We respect your decision. However we would like you to be aware of the implications should you choose to negotiate separately. Our recommendation is for Centres/Services to choose an organisation who can represent your Centre/Service. This will be a complex, lengthy and costly process that you cannot opt out of. It will involve in-depth understanding of legislation and include many discussions, decisions and meetings with the union and all other organisations who are representing employers/Centres/Services.

Is this process like collective bargaining?

This process has been set up to be quite similar to the collective bargaining process. For this reason, we would be likely to involve some of the people who negotiate the ECECA for the employers, as they are very familiar with and experienced with the collective bargaining processes.

If Te Rito Maioha represents us, will we be involved in the decision making?

Yes. We will be consulting with the members we represent as we work through the process to make sure we are representing your interests and requirements.