Te Rito Maioha is disappointed about announcement on the pay parity pathway

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand is concerned about the announcement which will see some ECE teachers | kaiako waiting longer to take a step closer to pay parity with their kindergarten colleagues.

The announcement from Education Minister Chris Hipkins of the pay parity conditions for higher funding rates reduces the number of kaiako who will benefit in 2022. Now only those on the equivalent of the first five steps of the kindergarten collective agreement will receive a pay increase in 2022, which is a back pedal from earlier announcements. Instead of finding the funding to rectify the problem, the solution is to exclude those kaiako who are the most experienced, but ultimately is just delaying the inevitable, being overall affordability in the sector.

Our employers want to be able to recognise kaiako at the same level as their colleagues. However, years of no funding, then marginal increases, Covid-19, and now the Government’s new parity rates means only a small shift towards parity. Pay parity is still not fully funded and this has created financial stress for employers.

Employers were gutted when they realised that the rates fell well short of meeting kaiako expectations and could not afford to opt in. Removing step 6 for another year has provided increased rates for the first five steps, and this may help more services to opt in now, but where does that leave our experienced kaiako workforce?

“This is still good news for those on the lower bands, but we are concerned that experience isn’t being recognised. Kaiako on step 6 who were expecting an increase now have to wait another year. This is a year too long”, says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe.

“We question why the Minister has made this move. Many of our members are telling us that the pay parity funding increase would not cover the costs of increased salaries, and they would only opt in to retain kaiako even if that meant losing money or increasing parent fees. Is this a way to get more services to opt in without providing the appropriate level of funding to meet parity for all?” asks Kathy Wolfe.

“Te Rito Maioha has been saying for many years that kaiako who have the same qualifications, same experience and are carrying out the same or similar work, deserve to get paid the same as Kindergarten and Primary School teachers. While the increase from 2022 for some is a welcome step towards addressing that longstanding inequity in parity, we are concerned for those more experienced kaiako who have again been told to wait.”

“We again urge the Minister to rectify the entire ECE sector funding model and we look forward to Budget 2022, where the Minister must secure sufficient funding to implement pay parity for all kaiako,” says Kathy Wolfe.