Support staff

Support staff have a wide range of jobs in schools, such as teacher aide, personal assistant, librarian, executive officer and general office work.

Employment agreements

Support staff in schools are covered by:

  • the Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement, or
  • an individual employment agreement, with similar terms and conditions as the collective agreement.

You are covered by the collective agreement if your work is covered by this agreement and you're a member of the New Zealand Education Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI), or E tū.

You need to sign an individual employment agreement if your work is covered by the collective agreement but you are not a member of the NZEI or E tū. The Ministry of Education develops and publishes the individual employment agreement. The terms and conditions of your work are similar to the collective agreement.

Clause 1.3 of the employment agreement lists all the types of school roles that are not covered. So essentially this agreement covers any other types of work in schools and is likely to mean you will work directly or indirectly with teachers and students to support them, or your work will be secretarial, financial, human resources or in property management.

Your pay

Your pay is set out in part 3 of the agreement.

The position is graded using the Position Elements Table - clause 3.4 which then translates to your step and grade on the payscale - clause 3.2.2. Specific information about placement on the payscale can be found in clause 3.6.

If you are part of the executive management group, your pay scale is different. This is explained in clause 3.1. To be assigned to the executive management group you must:

  • be part of the school's senior management team, and
  • have whole-of-school responsibility for functions such as finance and/or human resources and/or property, and
  • be employed for your specialist skills.

Pay increases

Each pay grade has steps within it and you can move up those steps based on your performance review each year. This is explained in clause 3.8 of the agreement.

If you have a recognised qualification that your employer agrees is relevant to your job, you may be entitled to a pay increase. The allowances and the qualification levels you need to achieve are listed in clause 3.10 of the agreement. You can find out more about the New Zealand Qualifications Authority qualifications (external link) on their website.

If you were receiving a payment before 28 January 2012 for a recognised qualification listed in an earlier collective agreement, you will still receive that payment while you are employed by the same school in the same job.


You can get a higher duties allowance of a 5% pay increase if your employer requires you to carry out duties at a higher level for 5 days or more. This is covered in clause 3.11 of your agreement.

Other allowances are covered in part 5 of your agreement. They include:

  • motor vehicle (if you have to use your own car for work – 58 cents per kilometre)
  • first aid (if you are the designated first-aider and you have a first aid certificate or nursing qualification – 35 cents an hour)
  • dirty work ($3.85 a day)
  • overnight (if you have to stay overnight on a school camp or trip – $65 a day, but you can negotiate to take time in lieu instead). If you work full time for 52 weeks a year, the allowance is $20 a day.


The different types of leave you are entitled to are covered in part 6 of your collective agreement.

Annual leave

You get 4 weeks' annual leave each year (clause 6.3) and you must take this when the school is closed at the end of the year (not in term time). This is on top of the normal public holidays, which are paid days off. You get Easter Tuesday as a paid day off in your first 10 years of service, and administrative staff also get the day after Boxing Day as a paid day off.

  • After 5 years’ continuous service, your annual leave increases to 4 weeks and 3 days.
  • After 10 years’ continuous service, your annual leave increases to 5 weeks but you must take Easter Tuesday as annual leave. Administrative staff must also take the day after Boxing Day as annual leave.

After 25 years’ service, you qualify for long service leave of 4 weeks (clause 6.4).

Sick leave

Your sick leave allocation is 7 days a year (clause 6.5). If you work less than 5 days a week, your sick leave is 6 days a year. You can carry forward sick leave but you can only anticipate from your next year’s entitlement if your employer agrees. You can use your sick leave to care for sick family members (called domestic leave, clause 6.6)

Other leave

You are also entitled to bereavement/tangihanga leave, as set out in clause 6.7.

You may be able to get special leave, with or without pay, which is allowed in clause 6.10.

You may also be eligible to receive the leave provided for in the old Appendix B [PDF, 56 KB].

Parental leave

Parental leave is granted by the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987 (external link) . It applies to a birth mother, their partner/spouse and people who adopt a child aged under 6.

Parental leave covers 4 types of leave.

  • Maternity leave – mothers can get up to 18 weeks off work from around the time of birth or from the time you start caring for an adopted child.
  • Partner/paternity leave – if your partner has had a baby or you have adopted a child together, you can take up to 2 weeks off.
  • Extended leave – you may be able to extend your maternity leave for an extra 52 weeks.
  • Special leave – while you are pregnant, you can have up to 10 days’ pregnancy-related leave.

You need to apply to your employer before taking parental leave. The usual notice required is 3 months but this can be reduced in some circumstances, such as if an adoption is arranged in a short time. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website (external link) explains how to apply for parental leave.

Parental leave payment

If you qualify for the parental leave payment, it is paid through Inland Revenue, so you need to apply for this payment and your school must confirm that you are entitled to parental leave. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website (external link) explains how to apply for parental leave payments.

If you work part time, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website (external link)  can help you work out your parental leave payment.

Leaving your job

To resign (or retire) from your job, you need to give your school board one month’s written notice.

If you feel that you are being forced to resign or your work situation has become intolerable and you feel you have no choice but to leave, you may have grounds for an employment dispute. There is more information about this in part 12 of your collective agreement.

If your board dismisses you from your job, they must give you one month’s written notice and follow the procedures set out in the employment agreement – clause 8.4.

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback