Employing and managing staff

Find out about a range of different topics that will help you with employment issues and staff management.

Police vetting requirements

Police vetting is part of the safety checking process your school or kura Māori must do when employing or engaging staff.

Employment agreements

You can read expired collective agreements in our archive.

Employment problem resolution

An employment problem could be a personal grievance or a dispute about the meaning or application of any part of an individual employment agreement. There is a set process to follow to resolve employment problems, including help and mediation through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Government expectations – pay and employment conditions

The State Services Commission sets out the Government’s expectations for pay and employment conditions for all state sector agencies (except state owned enterprises). These expectations apply to conditions of employment negotiated in the Education Service by the Secretary for Education under delegation from the State Services Commissioner. You can read these expectations on the State Services Commission website, under Government’s Expectations for Pay and Employment Conditions (external link) in the State Sector.

Performance management

Boards of trustees must ensure that all school staff participate in the performance management process. You are directly involved in performance management for the school’s principal, but you can delegate this to the principal for the teachers and other staff.

Non-teaching time for teachers

All teachers are entitled to time away from the classroom in their working week. This is set out in the collective agreements and is called classroom release time for primary teachers, non-contact time for secondary teachers and maximum teaching hours for area school teachers. Boards are responsible for setting the policy for what time away from the classroom can be used for.

Requiring teachers to work when the school is closed

A board may require teachers to work at times when the school is closed to students, for professional development or duties such as administration, preparation, planning, and parent, whānau and community liaison.

Resignation, dismissal and retirement

Employment can end through resignation, dismissal, retirement or redundancy. You need to make sure you comply with the provisions of the employment agreement and the Employment Relations Act 2000 (external link) in these situations.

Surplus staffing and redundancy

Surplus staffing situations can happen when a school closes, when two or more schools merge, or if the school’s staffing entitlement has reduced because it has a declining roll. Other changes within the school, such as no longer offering a particular subject, or a review or reorganisation at the school, can also lead to surplus staffing. You must make sure you understand and follow the surplus staffing provisions in the collective agreements.

Medical retirement for teachers and principals

If a secondary or area school teacher, or a principal in a secondary, primary or area school has a terminal or serious illness that means they can no longer work as a teacher or a principal, they may be eligible for medical retirement. They may apply for this, or you can initiate the medical retirement process.

Disregarded sick leave

If a teacher or principal has a certain type of illness or injury, the sick leave they take is not deducted from their sick leave balance. You need to apply to the Ministry of Education for disregarded sick leave on behalf of the teacher or principal.


The Secretary for Education is able to approve different terms or conditions than those in the employment agreements, such as extra pay, allowances or benefits. This is often called concurrence. You must apply for concurrence before offering different terms or conditions to principals or teachers.

Industrial action

Principals, teachers and support staff can only take industrial action over issues related to bargaining for collective agreements that will be binding on them, or on the grounds of health and safety. Find out what you need to know about the requirements for industrial action for both parties on the NZ School Trustees Association (external link) website.

School staff standing for election to Parliament

The legal requirements for school employees standing for election to Parliament are set out in the Electoral Act 1993.

These requirements are explained in the Education circular 2017/02 – School Staff Standing for Election to Parliament.

Note that this applies only to school staff employed by the school's board of trustees. If someone working at your school is employed by, for example, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry’s requirements will apply to them.

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