New Zealand universities’ pay equity claims
Pay equity claims are raised to ensure that people are paid equally for doing work of equal value. New Zealand law prohibits discrimination in pay on the basis of sex and the Equal Pay Act 1972 encourages employees and employers to work together and use evidence-based decision making to address pay inequity.
In September 2022, two pay equity claims were raised with the Vice Chancellors of New Zealand’s eight universities by:
- the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi O Aotearoa Incorporated (TEU)
- the New Zealand Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tangata Mahi Incorporated (PSA)
- the Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association Incorporated (TIASA).
These claims covered employees who work in:
- library assistance, library advice and library services; and
- clerical and administrative work.
All university staff who work in these roles, or roles that are materially similar, are automatically covered under these claims, even if you are not a member of one of the three unions who have raised these claims.
What does it mean to be automatically covered by the claims?
- Your name and contact details will be sent to all three unions, unless you opt out of the claim. The unions will communicate with you about the claim, content of any settlement that may be proposed, and the process for voting on any proposed settlement.
- You will be able to vote on any proposed settlement and will be kept informed about the process for voting.
- If the claims are settled, the benefits of settlement will automatically apply to you and may result in a change to your terms and conditions of employment. You won’t be able to raise your own pay equity claim.
You will not be covered by the claim if:
- you’ve already raised or settled a pay equity claim or you’ve accepted the benefit of a settlement
- you’re pursuing a claim under the Human Rights Act 1993 or Employment Relations Act 2000 instead, and proceedings have started
- you tell us in writing that you’re opting out of this claim.
You don’t have to be a member of the TEU, PSA or TIASA, or pay any fees to the unions to be covered by these claims or to be offered the benefits of any settlement.
Opting out of the pay equity claims
If you do not wish to be part of the pay equity claims, you can choose to opt out of the pay equity process, and you will not benefit automatically from the pay equity claim settlement.
If you are not a union member, you may opt out at any time before:
- the final date for voting on the proposed pay equity claim settlement, or
- the unions file an application with the Employment Relations Authority to fix remuneration under section 13ZY(1)(d) of the Act.
If you are already a member of one or more of the unions, it is not possible to opt out of the pay equity process without first cancelling your membership of the union(s).
If you choose to opt out, you must give notice in writing to your university. You can opt out of the claim any time between now and the final date of voting on any proposed settlement.
The universities are required to provide the unions with your name and contact details, so the unions can provide information about the pay equity process and ensure you can vote on the proposed pay equity claim settlement. The universities must do this within 20 days of notifying employees that they are covered under the claims.
If you opt out of the union-raised claim, you will be offered the benefit of a settlement of that claim and:
- if you accept the offer of the benefit of the settlement, you will be unable to raise your own claim, or
- if you decline the offer of the benefit of the settlement, you will retain the right to raise your own claim.
If you wish to opt out of a claim, please contact your university. Details are at the bottom of this page.
Raising your own individual pay equity claim
If you want to raise your own pay equity claim, you must opt out of the union-raised claim before:
- the unions file an application with the Employment Relations Authority to fix remuneration under section 13ZY(1)(d) of the Act; or
- the final date for voting on a proposed pay equity claim settlement under section 13ZF(4)(c)(ii) of the Act.
You can raise your own pay equity claim. Your claim must include the following:
- a statement that the claim is a pay equity claim made under the Act
- your name and address
- the date you make the claim
- your occupation, role, and a brief description of the work you carry out
- the name and address of the person representing you, if applicable
- a description of how your claim meets the requirements to be an 'arguable' pay equity claim under section 13F of the Act.
If you have raised your own pay equity claim and that claim has not been settled at the time the union claim is settled, you may:
- withdraw the claim by giving notice in writing, and
- join the union-raised claim by giving notice in writing to the unions.
Where will I get updated information on these claims?
This page will be updated as the claims progress and each university also has a page for information. Contact details for each university are listed below.
Who should I contact for more information?
You are entitled to seek independent legal advice at your own cost.
You can also find out more about pay equity on the Public Service Commission website or on your university's intranet site.
- The University of Auckland | Waipapa Taumata Rua
- Auckland University of Technology
- University of Waikato
- Massey University | Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa
- Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington
- University of Canterbury
- Lincoln University
- University of Otago
You can also contact your union regarding these claims: