Recent changes to the Equal Pay Act

In July this year, Parliament passed the Equal Pay Amendment Act (EPAA), which introduces several new requirements for how pay equity claims are processed.

These changes came into law on 6 November 2020. NZEI Te Riu Roa and others have raised several new pay equity claims within the education workforce which we are reviewing.

There are two existing claims which the Ministry and NZEI Te Riu Roa are investigating which are also impacted by the changes to the Equal Pay Act:

  • Administration Support Staff Pay Equity Claim (APEC)
  • Kaiārahi i Te Reo Pay Equity Claim (KPEC)

From 6 November, the following employees will be automatically covered by the claim, unless they choose to opt-out:

  • School administration support workers
  • Kaiārahi i te reo
  • Anyone doing similar work to the above roles.

Our requirements under the Equal Pay Act

The Secretary for Education must write to all employees affected by current education-sector pay equity claims, and future pay equity claims if they arise, advising them that they are covered by the claim and outlining their rights and options under the new pay equity laws.

This notification must be completed within 20 working days of the Act coming into force (6 November) or 20 working days from the day a new employee starts their employment if this is after 6 November 2020.

This letter will outline an affected employee’s options on whether they would like to stay in or opt-out of the claim. We have a legal requirement to pass the name and contact details of employees who remain in the claim to NZEI Te Riu Roa unless they opt-out of the claim by 16 December 2020.

Employers named in a pay equity claim

NZEI Te Riu Roa has raised a pay equity claim for early childhood teachers. This is a multi-employer claim that includes 600 employers and will cover more than 600 private and community-based services centres or services. The Secretary for Education has also been named as the employer of Early Intervention Teachers and of registered Kindergarten Teachers.

More information for employers named in a pay equity claim

Employee rights

We recommend that anyone affected by the current pay equity claims, or any future claims, seek independent legal advice to understand how the new pay equity laws might impact them.

More about employee rights under the new pay equity laws

More information

More information about the Equal Pay Act 1972 can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website(external link) or the New Zealand Legislation website(external link).

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