Primary Teacher and Principal FAQs

What do I need to know about?

Teacher Registration (including Salary Assessment for Beginning Teachers)
Registration 'Subject to Confirmation' (STC)
Full Registration

Maternity Leave
What are my maternity leave entitlements?

Sick Leave
What are my sick leave entitlements?

Other Leave
Can I have a paid day off to attend a wedding/graduation/positive celebration?

Jury Service

What’s the jury service entitlement and how does it work?

Termination of Employment
What is my resignation period?
If I resign do I get paid during the holidays?

Relieving
What's the difference between short and long term relieving, and how does it affect my pay?

Breaks
What's my entitlement to rest breaks, morning tea and lunch?

Classroom Release Time
What do I need to know about Classroom Release Time?

Unit Allocation Guidelines
What do I need to know when developing unit allocation policy?

What are my maternity leave entitlements?

If you're a NZEI member, refer to the relevant part of your collective agreement.

If you're not a member, you can join NZEI online or call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443) for information on how to join.

About maternity leave

Maternity leave is one part of the provisions of the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, which gives eligible members entitlement to:

Unpaid

  • Maternity leave of up to 18 weeks
  • Special leave (pregnancy related) of up to 10 days
  • Paternity/partners' leave of up to 2 weeks
  • Extended leave of up to 52 weeks

Paid

  • Up to 18 weeks of parental leave payments

Note: Parental leave payments are processed by Inland Revenue. You can get the application form from the IRD website or call the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on 0800 20 90 20.

General population provisions

For the population at large the three main components of maternity, special and extended leave must fit within the 52 weeks limitation. In other words, if a woman takes 18 weeks maternity leave, usually taken before the birth of the baby, the maximum “extended leave” available would then be 34 weeks (52 - 18).

With the changes to the Parental Leave Act as of the 1st of April 2016 all employees who meet the work test outlined on the IRD website will be entitled to 18 weeks of parental leave payments, irrespective of whether they have position to take leave from. This means that teachers who are short term relievers or on fixed term contracts who meet the work requirements are now entitled to the full 18 weeks worth of payments.

Primary teacher and principal provisions

For primary teachers and principals, however, the maternity leave does not count against the extended leave entitlement. You could, therefore, take 18 weeks maternity leave prior to the birth of the baby and then take a full 52 weeks of extended leave.

This amount of leave is available to you if you have been teaching at least 12 months immediately before the leave. There is less leave available to women with less than 52 weeks service.

The leave can be taken any time during pregnancy so long as you give the Board of Trustees one months notice in writing (with a medical certificate confirming pregnancy).

Maternity grant

A maternity grant (calculated on the basis of six weeks salary) is available to you if you:

  • qualify for maternity leave (you must be entitled to take leave from a position, not just the 18 weeks' paid parental leave payment), OR
  • resign becuse of pregnancy or adoption

Note: The maternity grant will not be paid if you have not produced a medical certificate confirming pregnancy before commencing leave or resigning. You must submit your application through your school Payroll Officer to Novopay using form NOVO 27. A copy of your child's birth certificate (certified that the original has been sighted) must also be attached to this application. You must ensure that you have provided proof of pregnancy at the point of your application for maternity leave.

You should contact IRD to discuss any possible tax implications of receiving the maternity grant and paid parental leave payments at the same time. 
If you have a period of parental leave without pay in any one school year, your holiday pay will be reduced (a holiday pay adjustment) based on the total number of days without pay in that year.

If you're a member of NZEI, call 0800 693 443 for further advice about your entitlements in the relevant collective agreement.

What are my sick leave entitlements?

If you're a NZEI member, refer to the relevant part of your collective agreement.

If you're not a member, you can join NZEI online or call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443) for information on how to join.

These sections are quite detailed. You will need to check the clauses to find an answer to your query, or call 0800 NZEI HELP. In simple terms, however, sick leave entitlement is based on service and is allocated in two ways:

Minimum Entitlement

After six months service, you will be entitled to 5 days sick leave on pay for the following twelve months. You will then be entitled to further lots of 5 days sick leave on pay for each subsequent twelve months of service. Any unused sick leave may be accumulated. In addition you are entitled to:

Additional Entitlement 

At the start of set periods of service you are entitled to blocks of sick leave as stipulated in Table A of part 4.1.3. For example:

  • From 0 to 3 months                                   7 days
  • From 3 months and up to 6 months             7 days
  • From five years and up to ten years            19 days
These blocks of leave are in addition to the “minimum entitlement” and may also be accumulated. Note: There is another table, Transitional Leave Table B, which applies only to people who were employed immediately prior to 1 July 1992. Once the employee has completed a single period of service in Table B the sick leave provisions shall revert to Table A.

Debiting of Sick Leave

Your sick leave is debited on the basis of actual working days as long as you are not away for more than five consecutive working days. You will lose weekends only if your absence is for more than five consecutive working days.

Can I have a paid day off to attend a wedding/graduation/positive celebration?

 
Reference: Members can refer to your Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement within MYNZEI. Non members will need to call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443)
  • Part 7.4, Discretionary Leave

Reference: Members can refer to your Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement within MYNZEI. Non members will need to call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443)
  • Part 4.5, Discretionary Leave

Approval for such leave is at the discretion of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees also decides whether it shall be paid leave or leave without pay.
The decision may be based on the reason for the request and the effect granting the leave may have on the operational requirements of the school.
The Primary Teachers’ Collective gives examples of a variety of activities that may be covered by these provisions. The list is not exhaustive.

What’s the jury service entitlement and how does it work?

 
Reference: Members can refer to your Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement within MYNZEI. Non members will need to call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443)
  • Part 4.5, Discretionary Leave
  • 4.5.2, Jury service and Witness Leave

Primary Teachers
As long as you are not pursuing your own interests or answering charges against yourself, the Board of Trustees will grant you leave with pay when you are required by subpoena for jury service. Any fees you receive must be paid to the Board of Trustees.
 
Principals
There is no specific provision in the Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement covering jury service. The Board of Trustees may grant you leave with pay for jury service. The Board of Trustees can also formally apply to the court for an exemption for you if it believes your attendance at court will disadvantage the school.

What is my resignation period?


Reference: Members can refer to your Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement within MYNZEI. Non members will need to call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443)
  • Part 10.2, Termination of Employment

Reference: Members can refer to your Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement within MYNZEI. Non members will need to call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443)
  • Part 2, General Provisions
  • 2.9, Termination of Employment

You must give not less than two calendar months notice.

You may, however, be able to negotiate with your employer and mutually agree on a shorter period. The emphasis here is on “mutually agree”.

If I resign do I get paid during the holidays?

 
Reference: Members can refer to your Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement within MYNZEI. Non members will need to call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443)
  • Part 3.26, Holiday Pay

The quick answer is yes, but the true situation is a little more complicated.

Holiday pay is calculated as 30% of the service you provide. Service includes the days the school is open for instruction plus weekends and statutory holidays, but not school vacations.

If you worked for a 10 week term, for example term one, that would equal 70 days service, (10 x 7 = 70 days). This would in turn generate 21 days holiday pay, (70 x 30 % = 21 days).

If you were permanently employed or in a long term relieving position for one year, fourteen of those days would be used to pay for the period of the first term break. The remaining 7 days would be used to cover the longer break over the Christmas holidays.

If, however, you were to resign at the end of the first term you would be paid-out, i.e. you would be paid all of the holiday pay you had generated. This would cover the “holidays” mentioned in your question plus the additional 7 days pay.

There would be some variations on this theme if, for example, you moved on to another job from the start of the next term. The main point is that you would receive all the holiday pay generated by the amount of “service” you provided.

What's the difference between short and long term relieving, and how does it affect my pay?

 
Reference: Members can refer to your Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement within MYNZEI. Non members will need to call 0800 NZEI HELP (0800 693 443)
  • Part 3.25, Payment of Salaries
 
Long Term Relievers    
Part 3.25.2
You would be classed as a long term reliever if you were employed for more than 3 weeks. You would be paid at the rate dictated by your service and qualifications with no “cap” on the rate. If for example, you were entitled to be paid at step 12 you would be paid at step 12 for all of your relieving period.

Your actual fortnightly pay would be the annual salary divided by 365 and then multiplied by 14. For example, if you were on step 12 your pay (using 2013 to 2015 figures) would be:
  • $73,000 / 365 = $200.00 per day
  • $$200.00 x 14 = $2800.00 per fortnight

Your service would also generate holiday pay (21 days pay for a 10 week term, i.e. an additional $4,200.00 gross) and you would be entitled to various allowances. If your position was for 1 year or more then you would be entitled to all the provisions that apply to permanent teachers except for surplus staffing conditions.
 
Short Term Relievers   
Part 3.25.3
You would be classed as a short term reliever if you were employed for periods of up to and including 3 weeks. Your salary would be “capped’ at step 8 of the salary scale.

If you would normally be eligible for step 8 or above your actual fortnightly pay would be step 8 divided by 190 and then multiplied by 10, i.e.:
  • $57,360 / 190 = $301.61 per day
  • $301.61 x 10 = $3016.10 per fort night
This rate includes holiday pay and would generate no further income.
 
Note 1: There are different pay rates for teachers employed hourly.
Note 2: In the short term the Short Term Reliever rates are more lucrative than the long term rates. It must be noted that the Short Term Reliever rates include holiday pay and do not generate any further income. Once the cap is lifted and the holiday pay is added to the Long Term Reliever rates the picture can be very different.

What's my entitlement to rest breaks, morning tea and lunch?

There are no specific provisions for such breaks in either the Primary Teachers' or Principals' Collective Agreements.

In light of the recent changes to the Employment Relations Act 2000, the entitlement to rest breaks for employees in New Zealand have changed. NZEI holds the view that timely and genuine breaks are an important part of a healthy workplace environment.

While the Employment Relations Act no longer provides for a strict entitlement to breaks, employees are either entitled to rest breaks or compensatory measures. You can find more information about these changes at the MBIE website.

If you are concerned about your rest break entitlements and are a member of NZEI you can call 0800 693 443 for further advice. If you are not a member of NZEI, join online here.

What do I need to know about Classroom Release Time?

 
Primary Teachers
Classroom Release Time has been available to full time classroom teachers since Term 4 2005. In 2007 Classroom Release Time was extended to those teachers working 0.8 or more on a pro rata basis. Schools are provided with staffing to cover the release time.
How could Classroom Release Time be used?
This template policy contains a list of ideas of how Classroom Release Time be used. The two key things that schools must decide are: what teachers will use the Classroom Release Time for, and what the class will be taught during the provision of each teacher’s Classroom Release Time? The answer to these will vary from school to school depending on their needs and availability of teaching staff.
Who decides how Classroom Release Time can be used?
Each school must have a policy on the use of Classroom Release Time. The policy is designed through consultation between the principal and teachers. Prior to starting the process the principal should provide a briefing for the Board of Trustees. (Confirm that the Board of Trustees has delegated responsibility to the principal.) The final policy should be presented to the Board of Trustees.
How do I get more information about Classroom Release Time?
See the Classroom Release Time guidelines booklet, a list of further FAQs, or contact 0800NZEI HELP for further assistance.

Principals

Classroom Release Time is not available to principals.