Area school teachers

Find out about the pay scales for area school teachers, and the allowances, benefits and other entitlements covered in your employment agreement.

Employment agreements

Area school teachers in state and state-integrated schools and kura are covered by:

  • the Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement (ASTCA), or
  • an individual employment agreement, with similar terms and conditions as the ASTCA.

You are covered by the ASTCA if your work is covered by this agreement and you’re a member of one of the area school teachers’ unions: the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) or the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association (NZPPTA).

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

Your pay

Your pay is covered in part 3 of your collective agreement.

Your base salary

The amount you can be paid as a teacher depends on your qualifications, experience and whether you qualify for any units or allowances.

Untrained area school teachers are paid between $32,279 and $39,297.

There are 6 salary groups for trained teachers, each with a minimum and a maximum salary. Your salary group depends on your qualifications.

Salary groupStarting salaryMaximum salaryNQF* levelExample of qualification
1 $38,151 $59,394 5 Diploma in Professional Cookery
2 $40,082 $63,552 6 Advanced Trades Certificate
3 $48,671 $71,891 7 Bachelor of Teaching
3+ $50,268 $75,949 7 Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma of Teaching
4 $52,169 $75,949 8 Honours Degree
5 $55,246 $75,949 9 or 10 Master's or PhD

*NQF = National Qualifications Framework

You can earn more than your maximum salary step if you are entitled to units or allowances.

If you are in salary group 1 or 2, you can move above your maximum, up to the group 3 maximum, if you have been allocated permanent units.

If you are a resource teacher learning and behaviour, resource teacher Māori or resource teacher literacy, your pay scale is a bit different. Please check clause 3.1 of the collective agreement for full details.

Pay rises

An increment is the pay rise you get when you move up a step on your base salary scale. This is on top of base salary increases negotiated through the collective agreement bargaining process.

You will most likely move up one salary step each year until you reach the maximum salary step for your qualification.

Here's how the increment process works.

  • You are assessed against the performance standards in the schedule to your employment agreement (by your board of trustees or principal).
  • If you have met the standards, you move up a salary step on the scale.

If a teacher hasn’t met the standards, they are given a specific time to do so. If they haven’t met the standards after this time, they don’t move up a salary step. In some cases, competency procedures will be needed.

The table shows the increments on the salary scale for trained area school teachers. Your starting salary and maximum depend on which salary group you are in.

StepBase salaryIncrement between steps (%)Increment between steps ($)
1 $32,924 - -
2 $34,356 4.17% $1,432
3 $37,220 7.69% $2,864
4 $40,082 7.14% $2,862
5 $44,375 9.67% $4,293
6 $48,671 8.83% $4,296
7 $50,268 3.18% $1,597
8 $52,169 3.64% $1,901
9 $55,246 5.57% $3,077
10 $59,394 6.98% $4,148
11 $63,552 6.54% $4,158
12 $68,796 7.62% $5,244
13 $71,891 4.31% $3,095
14 $75,949 5.34% $4,058

Units and allowances

As well as general salary funding, schools receive a certain amount for ‘units’. Boards can allocate units as a permanent or fixed-term addition to a teacher’s salary. Each unit is worth $4,000.

You can read more about units in clause 3.4 of your collective agreement.

If you are a resource teacher learning and behaviour, resource teacher Māori or resource teacher literacy you automatically qualify for an additional unit on your salary. This is explained in clause 3.2.3 of the agreement.

You may also qualify for one or more of the following allowances, which are added to your salary.

Recruitment, retention and responsibility (3R) allowance

Your school board may pay you a 3R allowance to recognise an extra responsibility that you take on, or to achieve recruitment or retention goals. Boards need to consult with teaching staff about the allocation of these payments.

Although these payments are not covered in the Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement, boards can offer a 3R payment of up to $4,000pa for area school teachers, which can be paid permanently or for a fixed term.

Area schools priority teacher supply allowance

You'll be paid the area schools priority teacher supply allowance of $2,500pa if you’re a fully registered teacher and you work in a priority staffing status school (sometimes called ‘hard to staff’ schools).

Staffing incentive allowance

You’ll be paid an allowance of $1,000pa if you don’t get the area school priority teacher supply allowance and you work full time in a school that qualifies for the staffing incentive allowance.

Isolation allowance

You will receive an isolation allowance if your school is in an area the Ministry has defined as isolated. This means you live in a place with a population of less than 300, and you are more than a certain distance from a population centre of more than 1,500 people. There are different categories and rates for the allowance, depending on the distance.

  • Find out which schools qualify for an isolation allowance.
  • Read more about isolation allowances and the amounts paid in clause 3.23 of your collective agreement. 

Specialist teacher allowance

A specialist teacher provides professional development, guidance, mentoring and induction to other staff. If you are appointed to this role, you will get an allowance of $4,000pa or $8,000pa (depending on the number of students at your school) and a certain number of hours per week for your duties.

Tutor teacher allowance

If you are a fully registered teacher and you are mentoring a provisionally registered first or second year teacher, you can be paid a tutor teacher allowance. The amount is either $4,000pa or $1,000pa, depending on the number of hours that you spend with the provisionally registered teacher. Read the full criteria and amounts payable in clause 3.16 of your collective agreement.

Associate teacher allowance

If you are involved in the practical training of teacher trainees, you can be paid an associate teacher allowance. The amount is a minimum of $3.20 per student for each hour you are working with them, up to a maximum of 16 hours. Read the full criteria in clause 3.15 of your collective agreement.

Māori immersion allowance

If you are required to use te reo Māori in Māori immersion classes at levels 1, 2 or 3 for at least 6 hours a week, you may qualify for a Māori immersion allowance of $4,000pa. If you have more than 3 years’ continuous teaching at level one, you will get an additional allowance of $2,000pa.  If you have more than 6 years' continuous teaching at level one, the additional allowance will be increased to from $2,000pa to $4,000pa.

  • You can find out more about this allowance in clause 3.14 of your collective agreement. 
  • The levels of Māori immersion are defined in schedule 1 of the Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreement.

Careers adviser allowance

If you are appointed as a careers advisor, you will be paid an allowance of $1,500pa. This is set out in clause 3.13 of your collective agreement.

Middle management allowance

Middle management allowances are allocated by your school. You may be able to get a middle management allowance of $1,000pa if you:

  • have a specific curriculum or pastoral management responsibility (such as being a head of department or a dean), or
  • are responsible for at least 5 students funded under the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme.

If you already have 4 or fewer units on your salary, you can qualify for 1 or 2 middle management allowances. If you have 5 units, you can qualify for 1 middle management allowance.

You can read full details about the middle management allowance in clause 3.5 of your collective agreement.

Resource teacher learning and behaviour

If you are a resource teacher learning and behaviour (RTLB) you will be paid an extra unit and allowances.

Community (of Schools or Learning) Teacher roles and allowances

The Investing in Educational Success (IES) roles for teachers working within their school or across their Community have been varied to include area school teachers.  As an area school teacher you may be eligible to apply for these roles and assoiated allowances.

If you are appointed to the:

  • Community Teacher (within school) role you are entitled to recieve and allowance of $8,000pa.
  • Community Teacher (across community) you are entitled to recieve an allowance of $16,000pa.

You can read full details about the Community Teacher roles in clauses 3.31, 3.32 and 3.33 of your collective agreement.

Other allowances

You may also qualify for other allowances, such as higher duties, relieving principal, special duties or bus controller. These are covered in part 3 of your collective agreement.


Part 5 of your collective agreement covers all your leave entitlements, including sick, parental, bereavement (tangihanga), study, refreshment and sabbatical. Your school can also allow special leave for various activities like competing in sports events or attending cultural events. Read more about the main types of leave for area school teachers.

Other benefits and entitlements

You are entitled to non-contact time each week. Your maximum teaching hours each week will depend on whether you teach years 7 to 13 students and if you hold salary units. You can find out more about maximum teaching hours in clause 4.2 of your collective agreement.

If you move schools because you’re promoted or you move to work in a ‘hard to staff’ school, you may qualify for a transfer and removal payment to help cover your costs. 

If you have a terminal or serious illness that means you can no longer work as a teacher, you may be eligible for medical retirement.

If you have a certain type of illness or injury, your time off isn’t taken out of your sick leave balance. This is called disregarded sick leave.

The Ministry of 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. It is rarely granted to teachers because school boards have the discretion to offer 3R allowances. School boards must apply for concurrence before offering different terms or conditions.

Working when school is closed

You may be required 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.

Clause 4.7 of your employment agreement states you can be required to:

  • participate in professional development for a maximum of 5 days in the school year
  • attend school for other duties when school is closed for up to a maximum of 5 days in the school year.

When your board asks you to work on a closed day, they must take into account whether you have already undertaken professional development or carried out various tasks in your own time.

Leaving your job

To resign (or retire) from your job as a teacher, you need to give your school board 2 months’ 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 8 of your collective agreement.

If your board dismisses you from your job as a teacher, they must give you 2 months’ written notice and follow the procedures set out in the employment agreement – clause 2.8 and clause 2.4.


KiwiSaver is the superannuation scheme available to new and existing teachers. The employer contribution is currently 3% of your gross earnings, and you can choose to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your pay.

You may already belong to a superannuation scheme that is closed to new members, such as:

  • the Teachers Retirement Savings Scheme and the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme, each with an employer contribution of up to 3% of your gross salary
  • the Government Superannuation Fund, which has an employer contribution of 6.5% or 7% of your gross salary
  • the National Provident Fund, which has an employer contribution of up to 3% of your gross salary.

If you belong to one of the old schemes and KiwiSaver, employer contributions are only paid to KiwiSaver if the amount paid into the other scheme is less than the KiwiSaver contribution of 3%. So if the employer contribution to your other fund is 4%, you will not get any payment into KiwiSaver as well. However, if the employer contribution to your other fund is only 2%, you will also get 1% paid into your KiwiSaver scheme.

The KiwiSaver website (external link) has everything you need to know about KiwiSaver.

You can find out more about the other schemes on the State Services Commission website (external link) . If you have any questions, contact the provider directly.

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