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Parents to Pay $5.2 Million in Trade Union Leave

Parents to Pay $5.2 Million in Trade Union Leave For Teachers

Parents right across the education spectrum will have to foot a $5.2 million bill for trade union action, the Parliamentary education select committee was told today.

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) confirmed in evidence today that Boards of Trustees will have to fund paid trade union leave for teachers out of the school’s operational grant funding.

“Under clause 89 in the Employment Relations Bill, the average primary school will be entitled to five days trade union leave a year. As the NZEI points out schools will need to appoint relievers,” ACT leader Richard Prebble said.

“The NZEI told us a relieving teacher costs $218 a day plus GST plus ACC payments. That is about $1250 per annum of money that at the moment is available for schools to develop the curriculum and assist in teaching.”

ACT’s education spokesperson Donna Awatere-Huata asked Education Minister Trevor Mallard in Parliament today whether schools would be compensated for the costs of paid trade union leave.

“The Minister said no. ACT believes it is outrageous for a Labour-Alliance government to impose this cost on schools and then refuse to pay for it. In reality, parents will pay for this trade union leave with their school fees, socials and raffles,” Mr Prebble said.

“The situation for kindergartens is in many ways even worse, as they have less ability to absorb the cost. In the case of a large secondary school they could be liable for two weeks leave at a cost of $4,000!”

Mr Prebble said the outlook was even worse for schools as all schools will be able to have two two-hour stop work meetings a year, which if used, will mean children lose a day’s schooling.

“There is a further provision in the Bill whereby employers must meet the cost of an employee who is chosen by the union to bargain for a collective. A school whose teacher was selected by the union to bargain would have to meet the first eight days of that teacher’s bargaining leave, a minimum cost of around $2000.

“This is just yet another example of the far-reaching consequences of this radical industrial legislation,” he said.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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