Kaiārahi i te reo pay equity claim

Kaiārahi i te reo are currently the subject of a pay equity claim which seeks to ensure that they are receiving equitable remuneration for their work.

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  • Kaiārahi i te reo
  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki

On 18 June NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry signed the terms of reference for the Kaiārahi i te reo pay equity claim which formally started the investigation to find out if the predominantly female kaiārahi i te reo workforce in our schools is undervalued and underpaid. This claim may result in changes being made to the situation of kaiārahi i te reo, in the future.

Photo of a kaiarahi i te reo

What’s happening at the moment?

A lot of complex work goes into the joint pay equity process. Firstly the teams made up of Ministry analysts and NZEI Te Riu Roa members interview a number of kaiārahi i te reo and their direct supervisors (often principals) to find out more about their work.  So far, the interview teams have visited 17 schools and interviewed 19 employees. This stage of the claim process will be completed before the end of Term 4.

Once they finish with the interviews the teams will look at the data they’ve gathered. They will identify the responsibilities, skills, demands and working conditions of kaiārahi with a focus on the skills that are less visible, and not always recognised.

These can be so called soft skilled like emotional effort, communication and social skills, taking responsibility for the wellbeing of others, cultural knowledge and sensitivity.

Alongside the information gained from the interviews, the analysts research the historical movement of women into the paid workforce and collate and analyse data from job descriptions, collective agreements and other relevant documents.

We are also starting the comparator process, working with NZEI Te Riu Roa to research which potential comparators would be most suitable for the claim.

The five key stages of the pay equity claim process: 

  1. Raising the claim
    NZEI Te Riu Roa, the union representing kaiārahi i te reo notify the Secretary for Education that, because most people working in these occupations are women, their work is likely to be undervalued and underpaid.
  2. Investigation of claimant role
    Ministry and NZEI Te Riu Roa talk to a random sample of Kaiārahi i te reo in kura across New Zealand. They look at job descriptions and talk to their supervisors and/or principals to learn more about the work they are doing, which includes their skills, responsibilities, working conditions and demands.
  3. Investigation of comparator roles
    They research male-dominated occupations where similar skills, responsibilities, working conditions and demands are needed.
  4. Assessment/analysis of evidence
    They then compare the skills, responsibilities, working conditions and demands of kaiārahi and the comparator occupations, and look at how much each group is being paid for their work. Then they decide if the staff in those occupations mostly done by women are paid less than staff in those mostly done by men.
  5. Settlement
    If they find there is no gender-based discrimination the claim is denied. If they find there is gender-based undervaluation the parties will negotiate a settlement with fair remuneration. 

The new Equal Pay Amendment Act

Parliament has passed a new pay equity framework, designed to provide a practical and accessible process to raise and consider claims of systemic sex-based pay undervaluation in pay in female-dominated occupations. The Equal Pay Amendment Act comes into force in November.

Once a claim for an occupation is raised, all people performing the same or similar work as these employees will be covered by the claim, unless they chose to opt out.

The Ministry will be in contact with everyone affected by the current claims to inform them of their rights under the new legislation. If you are a kaiārahi i te reo or do the same or similar work, please make sure your payroll administrator has your up to date contact details in EdPay, including your email address.

Who are the claimants?

Kaiārahi i te reo play an important role in the education workforce, working alongside teachers to support Māori language and to advise on tikanga. They are recognised for their involvement within the community and their knowledge in te reo and tikanga. Kaiārahi i te reo are noted as an important resource for language development and preservation.

About Kaiārahi i te reo

The kaiārahi i te reo role was established in 1985 in response to the rising number of kōhanga reo graduates enrolling into local primary schools and new ‘Taha Māori’ curriculum requirements. This growth in the need for schools to provide an environment that nurtures Māori language and practices, coupled with the lack of trained teachers fluent in te reo Māori meant that the introduction of kaiārahi i te reo was crucial to support teachers and enhance the performance and achievement of Māori students.

Today in New Zealand, kaiārahi i te reo continue to be considered specialist support personnel with the fundamental purpose of the role remaining unchanged through the decades. There are currently between 60 and 70 kaiārahi i te reo working in primary, intermediate, secondary schools and kura.

How did the claim come about

NZEI Te Riu Roa raised a pay equity claim with the Secretary for Education on behalf of kaiārahi i te reo.

The claim states that the work of kaiārahi i te reo is undervalued due to the fact that they are currently and historically mostly women. It was therefore possible that some aspects of the skills, knowledge and interests required to carry out the work were less visible, and so not always recognised and equitably remunerated.

The claim seeks to uncover these skills, consider the work done alongside responsibilities, demands and working conditions and compare them against male dominated comparators.

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