Schools would see positive impact from minimum wage increase
31 July 2014
Labour’s promise to raise the minimum wage by $2 an hour to $16.25 if it wins the election would have a noticeable impact for low-paid school and pre-school support staff and low decile school students, says NZEI Te Riu Roa.
NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter said schools saw first-hand the impact of low wages that did not provide families with the necessities of life, and although the policy still fell short of the Living Wage of $18.80 per hour, it would be a good start.
“A fulltime worker on the minimum wage would receive an extra $80 a week before tax. It would mean more food in the pantry, being able to take kids to the doctor and putting the heater on a little more often in the depths of winter. These are all things that affect children’s health and wellbeing and ability to learn,” he said.
A large number of early childhood education support workers and school support staff, particularly teacher aides, are currently earning barely more than the minimum wage. Combined with uncertain job security from term to term, many also find themselves struggling financially.
“Labour has also promised to centrally fund support staff, which is fairer for staff and saves schools from the dilemma of how much they can afford to pay support staff when there are so many other demands on their limited general funding,” said Mr Goulter.