Surplus staffing

Surplus staffing situations in your school must be managed carefully and considerately, and meet all legal requirements.

Reasons for surplus staffing

Surplus staffing for teachers can happen when:

  • a school closes
  • 2 or more schools merge
  • there are changes within a school, such as a subject no longer being offered
  • a school’s staffing entitlement has reduced because it has a declining roll.

A principal’s position can be disestablished when a school closes or merges with another school. Other staff positions may reduce because of a review or reorganisation at the school.

If a surplus staffing situation occurs at your school, your employer must consult with you and all staff who may be affected. They must:

  • tell you that there’s a surplus staffing process underway
  • keep you up to date as the process progresses
  • work closely with any staff whose roles may be altered or disestablished.

Surplus staffing for teachers

Your school board’s first step should be to try and reduce staff numbers without disestablishing a permanent position. For example, they can decide not to replace staff who resign or retire, and/or not renew fixed-term agreements. This is called attrition.

If they still need to disestablish your permanent teaching position, the board must work with you to explore redeployment or retraining. The board will need to pay your reasonable costs to attend relevant interviews.

For more information refer to the relevant clause in the collective agreements as follows:

Clause 9A – Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Clause 2.13 – Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Clause 3.9 – Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement

Primary teachers

If your school needs to disestablish your position as a primary teacher they can redeploy you in your school or another school (with that school board’s agreement) for 30 school weeks (40 in some cases). They can also pay you for up to 30 weeks while you retrain to upgrade your skills.

If you and your school decide that these options aren’t suitable, the school can offer you a severance payment or, if you have more than 25 years’ service, a long service payment.

Area school and secondary teachers

If your school needs to disestablish your position as an area school or secondary teacher, they can redeploy you in your school or another school (with that school board’s agreement) for 30 school weeks, or 40 weeks in a school merger or closure. They can also pay you for up to 40 weeks while you retrain to upgrade your skills.

If you and your school decide that these options aren’t suitable, the school can offer you a severance payment or, if you have more than 25 years’ service, a long service payment.

Surplus staffing for principals

If your position as a principal is disestablished through merger or closure, your school board must make sure they meet the provisions set out in the collective agreements as follows:

Part 9 - Primary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Part 8 and Schedule B - Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement

Part 8 and Schedule A - Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement

Primary principals

Your school can redeploy you as a teacher on your principal’s salary for 30 weeks in your school or another school (with that school board’s agreement). They can also pay you for up to 30 weeks while you retrain on a course approved by the Ministry.

If you and your school decide that these options aren’t suitable, the school can offer you a severance payment of:

  • 3 months’ base salary for up to 3 years’ service
  • 4 months’ base salary for 3-5 years’ service
  • 6 months’ base salary for service of 5 years or more.

You must give your school 3 months’ notice if you want to receive the severance payment.

If you have more than 25 years’ service, you may be eligible for a long service payment of 6 months’ base salary, plus one week’s base salary for each complete year of service, up to a maximum of 1 year’s base salary.

If you get a long service payment and take up work in the education sector during the period that the payment covers, you’ll have to refund some of the payment.

Area school and secondary principals

If your position as an area school or secondary principal is disestablished, your school must give you 3 months’ written notice. During this time, the school must support you to find another position. This includes covering the cost of attending relevant interviews and helping with removal expenses.

If you turn down a suitable position, your school has no further obligations.

If you don’t find a suitable position in the 3 month notice period, you can choose to:

  • redeploy as a teacher on your principal’s salary for 40 weeks in your school or another school (with that school board’s agreement)
  • retrain on a course approved by the Ministry for 40 school weeks at your principal’s salary
  • receive a lump sum severance payment.

The severance payment is calculated as:

  • 3 months’ base salary for up to 3 years’ service
  • 4 months’ base salary for 3-5 years’ service
  • 6 months’ base salary for service of 5 years or more.

If you have more than 25 years’ service, you can get a long service payment of 6 months’ base salary plus 1 week’s base salary for each complete year of service, up to a maximum of 1 year’s base salary.

If you get a long service payment and take up work in the education sector during the period that the payment covers, you’ll have to refund some of the payment.

Surplus staffing for other staff

Other staff in schools are covered by various employment agreements. Each agreement sets out what your school must do for you in a surplus staffing situation. These provisions are set out in the collective agreements as follows:

Clause 10.2 – Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement

Appendix B - School Caretakers’, Cleaners’ and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Appendix C - Secondary and Area School Groundstaff Collective Agreement

Part 10 - Kaiarahi i te Reo, Therapists’, ATSSD and Special Education Assistants’ Collective Agreement

Note that there are specific surplus staffing requirements for:

When surplus staffing results from a school reorganisation or review

The requirements for this situation are set out in clause 10.3 of the Support Staff in Schools' Collective Agreement.

Part 10.3 - Support Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement

Giving notice

The following table shows the minimum notice period your school must give you about:

  • a possible surplus staffing situation
  • your position being disestablished.
NOTICE GIVENNON-TEACHING STAFF, EXCEPT SECONDARY AND AREA SCHOOL GROUND STAFFSECONDARY AND AREA SCHOOL GROUND STAFF
Notice of possible surplus staffing At least one month before you issue any notice of termination resulting from surplus staffing At least 6 weeks before you issue any notice of termination resulting from surplus staffing
Notice of termination One month One month

Process

During the notice period, your school needs to work with you to explore solutions such as:

  • attrition, which is the gradual and natural reduction of staff
  • offering you an alternative position in the school with terms and conditions that are no less favourable – this may involve retraining.

Your employer should only consider disestablishing your position if the surplus can’t be absorbed by attrition and an alternative position isn’t available.

If there’s only 1 position in the occupational category where there will be a disestablishment, your school must give you 1 month’s written notice of termination.

If there’s more than 1 position in the area where there will be a disestablishment, your school must internally advertise the remaining positions and give you and all affected staff the opportunity to apply. For example, if your school has 2 permanent library assistant positions but needs to disestablish 1, it must internally advertise the remaining position so both staff members have the opportunity to apply.

The appointment will be made on merit, and the unsuccessful applicant will get 1 month’s written notice of termination.

Alternative employment

To help you find alternative employment your school should provide you with reasonable paid time to attend job interviews.

A reasonable offer of alternative employment will be for a position that’s:

  • in the same location, or within reasonable commuting distance
  • has similar duties, and
  • has terms and conditions that are no less favourable.

If the alternative employment has reduced hours, you’ll be entitled to a partial redundancy payment.

You’re eligible for redundancy if your school can’t offer you suitable employment before the end of your notice period.

Redundancy

You’re entitled to a redundancy payment if your employment is covered by the:

  • Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement
  • School Caretakers’, Cleaners’ and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement
  • Secondary and Area School Groundstaff, or
  • Kaiarahi i te Reo, Therapists', ATSSD and Special Education Assistants' Collective Agreement.

You’re entitled to a redundancy payment of 6 weeks’ pay for the first year of service, plus 2 weeks’ pay for every subsequent year or part year of service, up to a maximum of 30 weeks’ pay. This is calculated on the higher of your:

  • gross weekly earnings at your last day of service
  • average gross weekly earnings over the previous 12 months’ service.

For more information on redundancy clauses (including notice periods) refer to the collective agreements as follows:

Clause 10.2.12 - Support Staff in Schools Collective Agreement

Clause 6.9 – School Caretakers’, Cleaners’ and Canteen Staff Collective Agreement

Clause 4.8 - Secondary and Area Schools' Groundstaff Collective Agreement

Clause 10.2.12 - Kaiarahi i te Reo, Therapists', ATSSD and Special Education Assistants' Collective Agreement

Special residential school non-teaching staff

Surplus staffing provisions are set out in clause 8.4 of the collective agreement.

Clause 8.4 - Special Residential Schools' Collective Agreement

Before starting any formal review that may affect non-teaching staff, the board of a special residential school must:

  • advise the Public Service Association (PSA) of the review, and
  • offer the PSA the opportunity to be involved.

If the review results in a change or reduction in non-teaching staff positions, your school must consult with you and the PSA about reconfirmation or reassignment.

Reconfirmation means you take up a position at the school that:

  • has the same or very nearly the same job description
  • is at the same salary
  • has terms and conditions that are no less favourable
  • is in the same location or within reasonable commuting distance.

Reassignment means that you take up a position similar to your previous position. If the new position has a lower salary, your salary can be preserved by paying a lump sum based on the loss of salary over the next 2 years.

If you’re not reconfirmed or reassigned, you’ll be declared surplus. Your school must advise the PSA who you are and when you’ll need to leave their employment.

You, the school board and the PSA will work together to explore options such as:

  • leave without pay
  • retraining or redeployment.

If these aren’t suitable, you’re entitled to severance pay.

The severance pay calculation involves a number of factors, including when you were appointed to the school (before or after 1 May 1996), and your length of service at the school. This calculation is set out in clause 8.5 of the collective agreement.

Clause 8.5 - Special Residential Schools’ Collective Agreement

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu support and specialist staff

Surplus staffing provisions are set out in clause 8.3 of the collective agreement.

Clause 8.3 - Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu Specialist and Support Staff Collective Agreement

When facing a surplus staffing situation, your board must first consult with the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) about a suitable time frame for the surplus staffing process. They also need to work with you to consider retraining or redeployment options.

You can be redeployed to a suitable alternative position. A suitable alternative position is one that:

  • requires duties that are reasonable for your skills, abilities and employment history and may include on-the-job training
  • has terms and conditions that are no less favourable
  • is at the same location or in reasonable commuting distance
  • doesn’t place an unreasonable imposition on your personal circumstances.

If the alternative position has lower pay, you’ll need to negotiate a salary protection package with your school for a period of up to 2 years.

Your school must give you at least 1 months’ notice that you’re to be redeployed. During the notice period, they must work with you help you find other employment. This includes allowing reasonable paid time to attend interviews.

You’ll be made redundant if you can’t be redeployed.

You’re entitled to a minimum of 1 month’s written notice of the redundancy, otherwise your school must make sure you redundancy payment includes 1 month’s pay in lieu of notice.

Other components of the redundancy package depend on the length of continuous service and your number of dependants, as set out in clause 8.4 of the collective agreement.

Clause 8.4 Special Residential Schools’ Collective Agreement

Further information

Find out more about provisional staffing entitlement notices and resourcing of surplus staffing, including funding support available from the Ministry of Education.

Resourcing

Or visit the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) website for more information on surplus staffing.

Surplus staffing – NZSTA website (external link)

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