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Big pay gap for low paid education workers


Big pay gap for low paid education workers

25 June 2014

NZEI says it is extremely frustrating that big gender pay gaps remain in the education sector six years after an investigation highlighted the issue.

In 2008 NZEI Te Riu Roa conducted an investigation into pay equity issues of around 800 Ministry of Education support workers who work with special needs children.

The study found they were significantly underpaid compared to male workers in other sectors who have similar skills levels and responsibilities.

The latest report on pay gender issues released today by the Human Rights Commission shows that the Ministry of Education has a 35 percent gender pay gap largely because of low pay for mostly female special education support workers in schools.

NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski says that is an appalling indictment of the pay and conditions for those workers.

“Why is the government prepared to spend $359m on its controversial Investing in Educational Success policy when it will not pay special education support staff a fair wage?”

“Teachers and parents know that these people are an extremely valuable workforce.”

“In 2008 special needs school support workers earned an average of $14.00 an hour. Six years later the rate ranges from $15.21 an hour to the top rate of $19.00 an hour. Many are not even on a living wage.

“This is unfair and discriminatory – especially considering the level of skills needed for this difficult and important part of education.”

"These are educators who make a real difference to kids’ education, especially vulnerable children. Yet clearly the government is more interested in creating new tiers of management than in valuing the contribution these workers make to education."


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