November 16, 2017

‘They’re taking advantage’ – concerns teachers being offered illegal fixed-term contracts

Published on TVNZ

Fewer than one in four secondary teachers will enter the workforce in a permanent position in New Zealand, leading to concerns that some schools are illegally “trying before they buy” through fixed term contracts.

The figures have led to concerns among teaching unions and workers themselves. Last year, half of all new secondary teachers were in fixed term positions, less than a quarter got permanent jobs.

“Beginning teachers, you’re really trying to get that experience and so they’re taking advantage of the gap in that knowledge,” Mr Wilson told 1 NEWS.

Employment Lawyer Mai Chen says that some fixed term contracts are legal.

“A genuine reason is that it’s a special project for a limited duration, so it’s clear to me that we’ve got some boards of trustees and principals that aren’t complying with the law,” Ms Chen said.

Some principals say flexibility around funding is a key reason for fixed term contracts.

“If they don’t have the money to pay for it then there are issues if the roll starts dropping,” James Morris from the Secondary Principals’ Council said.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins is promising to investigate the use of such contracts as a matter of urgency.