The Employment Relations Authority has ruled the Ministry of Education is not correctly paying school support staff.

The Ministry decided to reduce the pay of 6000 school support staff this year because of a payroll anomaly that means staff being paid for their work during the school year across the full calendar year would be paid for an extra fortnight.

The anomaly occurs every 11 years, and instead of paying the extra wages to the staff the Ministry reduced their pay by 3.7 per cent.

Member of the Authority James Crichton said the annualised wage payments of the NZEI Te Riu Roa union members were required to be made in a 12 month period, not over a 54 week period.

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"That said, I accept without reservation the points made for the Secretary for Education that there needs to be an arrangement for dealing with the consequences of uneven years but those arrangements need to be a matter for negotiation between the parties. They cannot simply be imposed unilaterally by one party on the other...," Crichton said.

NZEI General Manager for operations, Andrew Casidy, said the determination was positive news for support staff, many of whom were struggling financially under the reduced income.

Crichton directed both parties to return to mediation.

Read the full decision here: