Fair pay for ECE starts here

Early Childhood teachers and workers are some of the most important people in children's lives. 

We nurture children’s learning at the most crucial time in their education. Yet we’re some of the lowest paid people in New Zealand.

Today we’re putting an end to being under-valued and underpaid, just because our work has historically been done by women.

We’re starting a new movement, making a historic claim for pay equity for everyone working in ECE.

Teachers and staff are joining forces from all over the country, in private and community-run centres, in an unprecedented show of strength and unity.

For many of us, particularly in private centres, this is the first opportunity to come together to fight for fair pay.

Pay Equity Now

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Kristine Bartlett's message for NZEI members

We were lucky enough to sit down for a cuppa and a chat with Kristine Bartlett, the woman whose pay equity case has paved the way for more of us to win.

What's pay equity all about?

Ever since the Equal Pay Act was passed more than 40 years ago, women and men are supposed to be paid the same. But on average, women are still earning $4 per hour less than men.

Why's that? In many cases that's because work that's traditionally done by women—such as caring and working with young children—has been historically undervalued. Entire sectors of the workforce have been underpaid for decades as a result.

In 2012 an aged care worker named Kristine Bartlett said this isn’t right, and with her union E tū, she took a case to the courts. She said that the law is equal pay for work of equal value, and that she should be paid the same as a man in a male dominated industry doing a job with similar responsibilities and skills.

The Employment Court, and then the Court of Appeal, agreed.

Now, employees in female dominated industries whose work has been undervalued can bring a claim to their employer. The employee and employer can then sit down and negotiate a fair solution.

Aged care workers like Kristine won amazing pay rises of between 20 and 40 percent this year. Now, it's time for ECE workers to make a similar claim. New Zealand's women have been waiting long enough for fair pay, and now's the time to make it happen.


Can you help spread the word about pay equity in your centre? Great! Just grab these resources below and print them off.

Printable A3/A4 poster

Print off this poster on A4 or A3 paper to share in your centre—try the staffroom!


Share this flyer with your colleagues to help explain what we're fighting for.

Signup sheet

Gather the details of any staff members who'd like to be a part of this campaign, then scan it and email it back to oso@nzei.org.nz—or encourage them to sign up online!