Attestation salary levels

Information for centre-based early learning services about minimum salary levels for certificated teachers, how they relate to your eligibility for higher funding, and how to attest them.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Centre-based Early Learning Services
  • All Early Learning Services

To be eligible for higher levels of funding, you must adhere to minimum salary levels for all certificated teachers under your employment, and attest this on the RS7 funding return.


The information on this page should be read in conjunction with the ECE Funding Handbook.

Higher funding rates for teacher-led centre-based services are only available to services that agree to pay all primary and ECE qualified and certificated teachers employed by their service at or above certain minimum salary levels. 

Ensuring that certificated teachers are recognised and rewarded for their qualifications will contribute to increasing the number of certificated teachers working in early learning.

What are the required minimum levels?

The required minimum levels are shown below:

Qualification From 1 August 2019 
From 1 July 2020
From 1 July 2021
Q1 $45,491 $49,862 $51,358
Q2 $45,491 $49,862 $51,358
Q3 $45,491 $49,862 $51,358
Q3+ $46,832 $49,862 $51,358

Where a teacher generally works more or less than 40 hours per week, the salary should be calculated to ensure the required hourly rate is maintained. The required hourly rate can be found by dividing the attestation salary level by 2080.

The Ministry will update the above salaries when new rates come into force.

What are the qualification categories?

Q3+ means an early childhood teacher/kaiako holding:

  • a bachelor degree together with a recognised early childhood teaching qualification, or
  • a four-year Bachelor of Education degree, or
  • a four-year honours degree in teaching, or
  • a degree completed conjointly with a Bachelor of Teaching degree, or
  • a Bachelor of Teaching degree together with a relevant 120 credit specialist graduate or postgraduate qualification assessed at level 7 (or higher) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) or equivalent, or
  • a Diploma of Teaching (ECE) plus an Advanced Diploma of Teaching (ECE) together with a relevant 120 credit specialist graduate or postgraduate qualification assessed at level 7 (or higher) on the NQF, or
  • a Bachelor of Teaching degree together with a relevant level 7, 120 credit graduate or postgraduate diploma.

Q3 means an early childhood teacher/kaiako holding:

  • a recognised three-year early childhood teaching degree, or
  • an Advanced Diploma of Teaching (ECE), or
  • the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) or its equivalent, and they are attested as fluent in te reo Māori with a knowledge and understanding of tikanga Māori.

For the avoidance of doubt, where an employee has completed a three-year Diploma of Teaching (ECE) and has done a one-year upgrade to a Bachelor of Teaching degree, this means the employee is classified as Q3, not Q3+.

Q2: means an early childhood teacher/kaiako holding: the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) or its equivalent and two-thirds of a degree as defined in clause 6(a)(viii) of the Early Childhood Education Collective Agreement of Aotearoa New Zealand (except a three-year pre-service teaching degree); or a Higher Diploma of Teaching (ECE).

Q1: means an early childhood teacher/kaiako holding the Diploma of Teaching (ECE) or its equivalent.

What about primary qualified teachers?

Primary-qualified teachers must be paid in accordance with the minimum level shown above that applies to their qualification.

Salaries reflect total remuneration

The salary levels shown above reflect the minimum total remuneration for employed certificated teachers. Employers may decide to include further allowances for these teachers – this is a matter for employers and employees.

How do services attest?

The RS7 Return is used to determine the rate at which each teacher-led centre-based service is paid. Please refer to the ECE Funding Handbook for more information.

What do the terms mean?

'All employed'

The term all employed means each certificated teacher who is employed primarily as an employee of the service (i.e., they are working for hire or reward under a contract of service). Employed certificated teachers could be:

  • permanent full or part-time teachers
  • relief teachers (either short or long term), or
  • fixed-term contractors (i.e., contract of service is in place).

'Certificated teachers'

For ECE funding purposes, the term certificated teacher means a teacher who:

  1. Holds a current practising certificate (as issued by the Teaching Council) that is either:
    • full
    • provisional, or
    • subject to confirmation, and
  2. Holds a recognised ECE or primary teaching qualification, ie:
    • A New Zealand ECE teaching qualification
    • A New Zealand primary teaching qualification, or
    • An overseas qualification which NZQA has assessed as comparable to a NZ Initial Teacher Education qualification (ECE or primary)

'At least at the level'

The term at least at the level means the service is paying all employed certificated teachers’ salaries at, or above, the minimum level identified above.

Record-keeping requirements

All teacher-led centre-based services’ attestation results will be verified by the Ministry of Education to confirm that each certificated teacher was paid at least at the required level. Services are therefore required to maintain information to assist with verification.

This information will include copies of qualifications and current practising certificates already required to be held, and records to confirm salary or wage levels.

The term record refers to a document(s) that clearly identifies the:

  • annual salary (or hourly pay rate) each employed certificated teacher is paid
  • time period for which each employed certificated teacher was paid at this level, and
  • the employer and employee’s signatures (or signatures of authorised representatives).

The Ministry of Education will not seek to verify other employment conditions as part of this process.

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