FAQ Answers

PPTA Membership

Membership types

There are four categories of PPTA membership:

Student membership

For any tertiary students enrolled in a secondary teacher training programme

Full membership

For full-time, part-time, and relief teachers in secondary, intermediate, and area schools. It is also for members who are up to two years leave without pay from one of the above positions.
Fees are 1% of fortnightly base salary (i.e. excluding units and allowances)

Adult and community education membership

For teachers who are employed in specific adult and community education roles.
$50 per year

Honorary membership

For retired members or members who are on leave without pay for a period of more than two years.
$50 per year

How do I sign up?

Go to our Join Us page.

How do I pay my fees?

Fees are normally deducted from your salary each fortnight by payroll and paid to PPTA. Honorary members and ACE teachers pay annually by a direct payment to PPTA.

I only want to do occasional day relieving – do I have to pay the full membership fee?

Day relievers are full members for voting and participation in PPTA activities but you only pay 1% of any relieving pay you may have each fortnight. If you have no day relief during any fortnight you do not pay fees in that pay period.

I am taking leave, what happens to my PPTA membership?

If you are on leave (maternity/study/sick/Leave Without Pay), i.e. not resigned from your teaching position, we can keep your status “as is” as full members are able to be on Leave Without Pay for up to two years and still maintain all the benefits of being PPTA members.  No subscriptions are payable during this period however we do need to know the dates. Please advise membership@ppta.org.nz accordingly so that we can update our records.  If you change your dates or resign your teaching position it would be appreciated if you would let us know.  Unfortunately subscriptions may not automatically resume so please check your payslip and advise if any problems.

I am moving schools. What happens to my PPTA membership?

Education Payroll should continue to deduct your PPTA subscriptions, however this does not always happen.  Please let membership@ppta.org.nz know when you change contracts/schools – this can also be changing contracts within the same school (e.g. becoming permanent, changing between part time and full time, renewing a fixed term position, becoming principal in the school).

How do I change my contact details?

Log in to the PPTA website via the member profile link to update your contact details, or alternatively there is an enquiry form that can be completed on the website, or email membership@ppta.org.nz

Can I remain a member of PPTA when I retire?

Yes, as an honorary member at $50.00 per annum.  You will be invoiced by PPTA.  You will need to advise us of this change in membership status. Honorary membership doesn’t allow for members to have legal/FO representation. So, for example, retired teachers who are relieving and wish to have full coverage should activate their membership as a reliever.  

Can I retain membership of Healthcare Plus after I retire from teaching?

Yes, as an honorary member at $50.00 p.a. You will be invoiced by PPTA. You will need to advise us of this change in membership status.

How do I resign from PPTA?

Resignations from PPTA should be in writing by emailing your local Field Office or membership@ppta.org.nz

Paid Union Meetings

What do I need to do if I can’t attend a Paid Union Meeting?

You can apply to your PPTA Regional Chairperson for dispensation from attending the PUM, outlining the genuine reason why.

PPTA Website

How do I log in to the PPTA website?

To log in to the members’ only side of our website your username is your MoE number with no zeros in front or the email address you have provided us.  Your password is also your MoE number (no zeroes in front).  This can be changed when you log in.

If you have difficulty with the login process, please email webmaster@ppta.org.nz – please include your MoE number if possible.

Registration and Certification

What is the difference between registration and certification?

Registration shows you have met the requirements to join the teaching profession in New Zealand. Once granted it doesn't expire, but it can be cancelled (for example, on grounds of serious misconduct). Registration alone doesn't allow you to lawfully work as a teacher – you also need a current practising certificate.

Practising certificates expire after three years. If you are employed in a teaching position, you need to ensure you renew your practising certificate promptly and meet all the requirements. This includes demonstrating satisfactory recent teaching experience, meeting the Standards for the Teaching Profession, agreeing to the Code of Professional Responsibility, and passing a police vet. 

More information is available on the Teaching Council website.

Do relievers need to be registered and hold a practising certificate?

Yes, or they must hold a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT). A school can employ a registered teacher without a practising certificate for up to 10 days in any one year. An untrained, unqualified person can be employed to teach provided they have a LAT.


What should appear on a fixed-term agreement/letter of appointment?

Start date, the reason the position is fixed term, what the position is and how many hours the position is for, the finish date and the reason the fixed term will finish on that particular date, and the collective agreement you are employed under. 

For more information, see Fixed term agreements: Guidelines to the Employment Relations Act

What are the reasons for establishing a fixed-term agreement?

Relieving (i.e. the position is a temporary replacement for teacher on leave):

Parental leave
Sabbatical leave
Study leave
Sick leave
Discretionary leave
Relieving for teacher in acting-up position

Fixed-term when the specific function you are employed for is of limited duration:

Project work (appointment ends with completion of specified project)
The position will not be continuing next year because of a notified falling roll situation
Appointment to a position which will not be required the following year

Fixed-term when you are not eligible for permanent appointment:

You cannot be appointed permanently because you  have a Limited Authority to Teach
You are employed while the school continues to advertise for a suitable appointment


What should my salary be?

If you are a teacher, your salary is determined by the following:

If you have a recognised teaching qualification
The type of subject qualification you have
Any credits you may be entitled to for work other than teaching
Any recognised teaching service you have
Any childcare credits you are entitled to
Which collective agreement you are employed under

Here is the STCA salary scale.

Here is the ASTCA salary scale.

If you are a principal, your salary is determined by:

Your level of experience as a principal
The size and nature of the school you are leading
The collective agreement you are employed under

For more, see the Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement  or Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement

I don’t think I am being paid correctly for my qualifications and experience. Who should I contact?

Apply for a salary assessment  through your school’s Authorised Novopay User. You should also have a chat with your PPTA Field Officer about this.

For more information about salary assessments, click here.

What impact does taking Leave Without Pay (LWOP)  (including parental leave) have on my holiday pay?

Your holiday pay will only be impacted if you take six or more days of leave without pay in a school year.

From the sixth day of leave without pay, you will lose three days of holiday pay for every 10 days you are away (including weekends) during school terms.

Lost holiday pay is deducted from the final pay period of the holidays.

Will maternity leave result in a loss of holiday pay when I return to work?

Yes, unless you take five days or fewer (see leave without pay above).

I am on a fixed term contract for the year which ends on the 15th of December, do I get holiday pay?

Yes. You have worked the full year, therefore holiday pay has been generated for the Christmas vacation period. Novopay pays this as a lump sum.

What happens to my holiday pay when I resign from teaching during the year?

Holiday pay is calculated on the amount of time that you have worked. Your Field Officer can help you with this.

Workload and Timetabling

Can I be required to do internal relief?

A full-time teacher who is at their maximum contact hours cannot be required to do relief.

You should only be asked to forgo your non-contact time in a genuine emergency, and these should be rare.

If you agree to do internal relief that puts you above your maximum non-contact allocation, the school must agree to a compensation process.

If you are a full-time teacher with fewer than your maximum contact hours (20 hours per week less any additional time allowances you may have), you can be required to do internal relief to bring you to your maximum contact time in a week. This should be set out in your school’s timetable policy. See our "It's About Time!" page if your school does not have a timetable policy, or if it is revising one.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Do I have to be involved in extra-curricular activities?

No. While extra-curricular activities have always been regarded as part of the culture of secondary schools, teacher involvement is voluntary. The PPTA supports teachers who are willingly and actively engaged in extra-curricular activities, as well as those who wish to have no part in them.

Increased workload means that teachers need to balance the curriculum, administrative, and assessment demands with the time and energy required for other activities. For more information, see our Extra Curricular Activities

Call Back Days

When can call backs be used?

The ASTCA and STCA give your employer the right to require you to attend school when it is not open for instruction for five days per year for professional development, and for a further and separate five days per year for administration, preparation, communication, co-ordination, and liaison.

Your employer is required to arrange matters so that the call back is not unreasonable. This means giving reasonable notice, taking your individual needs into account, and paying any costs incurred by the you attending the call back. If you have concerns about call back days, please contact your PPTA Field Officer. For further information see ASTCA 4.7, STCA 5.4,

Communities of Learning

Can a school appoint Within School Teachers (WST) as fixed term?

Yes. If the school has three or more roles to allocate, each appointment to the role may be either permanent, or for a fixed-term provided that fixed-term appointments will never make up more than 40% of WST roles in the school. However, there must be a genuine reason to appoint to a fixed-term, in accordance ASTCA 2.2.2A or STCA 3.2.3.

Do WSTs have to teach a minimum number of hours?

Yes. Regardless of how their hours are structured, to remain eligible for the additional resourcing associated with the ASTCA and STCA provisions, the teacher appointed to the WST role must maintain at minimum an average of sixteen (16) timetabled class-contact hours per week over the course of a school year if full-time, and at minimum an average of twelve (12) timetabled class-contact hours per week over the course of a school year if part-time. This is to ensure that the WST retains credibility as an effective classroom teacher while holding the role.

Can a school postpone time allowance for a WST?

No. Once a WST is being paid for the role, the school receives their time allowance. Therefore there is no justification to have the time allowance delayed until the following year.

More information is available on our Communities of Learning page.

Teacher Help and Support

I am feeling overwhelmed, what support can I access?

If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to a colleague, your HoD, someone in your Senior Leadership team, or your guidance counsellor. Alternatively, check with your PPTA branch chair to see if your school subscribes to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

What is EAP?

The Employee Assistance Programme is a work-based intervention designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting your performance (e.g. marital, financial, or emotional problems; family issues; substance/alcohol abuse). It is a confidential service, so the school does not know who uses it. Check with your branch chair to see if your school subscribes to EAP. The contact number is 0800 327 669. Contact your PPTA Field Officer if you need further information.

Health and Safety

What health and safety courses does PPTA offer?

The PPTA offers the Stage I course 'An introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015' with an opportunity to complete the required Unit Standard 'Describe the role and functions of the Health and Safety Representative in a New Zealand workplace'. Any travel and accommodation costs will be met by the school.

The PPTA also offers a Stage II course to build skills in hazard and risk management and injury and accident investigation, as well as a one-day course for principals.

See our Events page for more information on these courses.

Is there a legal limit to the number of students in a class?

No. Schools are required to make a genuine effort to ensure that teachers with more than one class do not have on average more than 26 students per class. If this average cannot be achieved, a compensatory process should be put in place. Check out our average class size calculator, and for further information about class size see our About Time toolkit. Note that this provision is not in the ASTCA, but is a reasonable expectation for area school teachers, too.

Schools are also required to ensure rooms are not overcrowded.

How many students should I have in a specialist room?

Classes should be limited to the number of spaces available, or dictated by the specific health and safety concerns associated with the activity, the equipment, or the room layout.

Are maximum or minimum temperatures stipulated for classrooms?

No. However, most people are comfortable between temperatures of 16 and 24 degrees and all efforts should be made to maintain temperatures within this range.

While there are no official limits to temperature, historically PPTA policy has set the lowest temperature acceptable for classroom teaching at 10°C. Maximum temperature is more complicated as comfort is a mixture of temperature, air flow and humidity. If you have concerns about your or your students’ health and safety, follow this up with your health and safety representative. It can be useful to keep records of temperature and humidity to support your claim.

What is acceptable noise in a classroom?

The school should take all practical steps to ensure that no teacher or student is exposed to noise that is going to cause hearing loss or interfere with learning. There is no official noise level for classrooms and workshops. If you have concerns about your, or the students’, health and safety follow this up with your health and safety representative. It can be useful to keep records of noise to support your claim. There are a number of free downloadable sound meter apps to enable you to do this.

Sick Leave

What is my sick leave entitlement?

See ASTCA 5.1 or STCA 6.2.2

Why isn’t my sick leave balance going up each year?

Sick leave is added in batches depending on how much service you have. See ASTCA 5.1 or STCA 6.1

How much sick leave do I have?

Refer to your payslip. Payslips are not always reliable so if the amount of sick leave on the payslip does not look right contact your PPTA Field Officer.

What happens when I run out of sick leave?

Several options are available depending on your circumstances. Contact your PPTA Field Officer.

If I am sick on a Friday and the following Monday, how many sick days are deducted?

2 days, if those are the only days you have been sick.  However, if you have been sick for more than 5 consecutive school days the weekend is included and you will have 8 days deducted from your sick leave.

If I am sick for a period of time in the term will it affect my holiday pay?

Holiday pay is not reduced for periods of sick leave with pay however, there are conditions. See ASTCA 5.1.7(b) or STCA 6.2.8(b).

You do not lose holiday pay for sick leave without pay for the first 90 days you are away but after that you will lose three day’s holiday pay for every 10 days (including weekends) that you are absent during the school term.

I am a part time teacher and noticed I got a full day sick leave deduction even though I would have only worked 2 hours that day, is this correct?

Yes part time teachers have each day of absence deducted as a full day. See ASTCA 5.1.4(b) or STCA 6.2.5(b)

Holiday pay is not reduced for periods of sick leave with pay however, there are conditions see ASTCA 5.1.7(b) or STCA 6.2.8(b).

You do not lose holiday pay for sick leave without pay for the first 90 days you are away but after that you will lose three day’s holiday pay for every 10 days (including weekends) that you are absent during the school term.

Parental Provisions/ Maternity Grants

How much maternity leave am I eligible for if I have 12 months service?

12 months, with the option of a further 12 months if you give 3 months’ notice of this to your employer before the first year ends.

How much maternity leave am I eligible for if I have less that 12 months service?

Up to 6 months.

How much notice do I have to give to return to my position after maternity leave?

1 month if it is your intention to return before the maternity leave expires.

How much notice do I have to give my employer if I intend to take the total entitlement of 24 months maternity leave?

You must notify your employer in writing of your intention to take this leave within 9 months from the date of commencing maternity leave.

If I am relieving for someone on maternity leave, how much notice do I have to be given that the person is coming back from maternity leave?

A minimum of 1 month. Please note that if the letter of appointment does not specify an event (ie return of the teacher on leave) and instead gives the date at the end of the proposed leave, the school is bound to keep the reliever on until that date.

For  detailed  information see Parental Leave and Payments

Leave for Family Reasons

When can I take leave for family reasons?

Leave can be taken for family reasons such as serious illness, sickness in the home, reoccurring serious illness and important family and other occasions.

Family is defined as: partner, child, parent, brother or sister; and “near relative” or “relative-in-law” is restricted to: grandparents, grandchildren, mother-in-law, fathers-in-law, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law

This is discretionary so may be with or without pay. Leave to look after someone in the home who is sick may be a charge against the teacher’s sick leave.

See ASTCA 5.5 or STCA 6.5

Special Leave

I have been granted study leave and my course does not start until 1 March/finishes before the end of the fourth term. Do I have to attend school until the course commences or if the course finishes prior to the end of the school year?

Yes, however this is at the discretion of your principal. See leave ASTCA 5.6.6 or STCA 6.6.6

If called for jury duty, do I get my normal pay? What happens to the fee for service?

The employer will grant leave with pay for jury duty, see ASTCA 5.6.2 or STCA 6.6.2. You will not be entitled to receive jury service fees as well.

Bereavement/ Tangihanga Leave

Can I be granted bereavement /tangihanga leave if I wish to pay my respects to someone other than a relative or near relative?

Yes, if there is a family or cultural tie or obligation to the person who is not a blood relative. Your field officer can advise you on whether a particular tie/obligation would be grounds to apply for paid tangihanga leave.

Teachers shall be granted leave with pay to allow a reasonable opportunity to discharge their obligations and/or to pay their respects to a deceased person with whom they have had a close association. Such obligations may exist because of blood or family ties or because of particular cultural requirements such as attendance at all or part of a tangihanga (or its equivalent). See ASTCA 5.3.1 or STCA 6.4.1

Miscellaneous Leave

There has been an extreme weather event and the country road to my school is blocked by slips. Can I get leave with pay for staying at home?

Miscellaneous leave (not a cost against your sick leave) can be granted with or without pay if circumstances like these prevent you from travelling to work. See ASTCA 5.6.8(a) or STCA 6.6.9(a)


I have been told to stay home because of an infectious epidemic but I am not sick. Am I on leave with pay or sick leave?

If the employer instructs you to stay home and you are not sick, or if the local medical Officer of Health issues an instruction for staff to remain home then this is paid leave and not a charge against your sick leave.

Transfers and Removals

When am I eligible and how do I claim for removal expenses?

You are likely to be eligible if you are:

A teacher being appointed to your first permanent position
Moving to a school in another area on promotion
Moving to a hard to staff school (and eligible for the  SIA/HPTSA/APSTA)
Moving as a result of your position being disestablished through a falling roll situation

See also: STCA Removal Expenses

The transfer and removal payments are in 2 parts:

a lump sum payment to cover things like travel, phone connection, in-transit accommodation and meals, and school uniform changes for your children
reimbursement of accommodation and property expenses not covered by the lump sum, such as rent, mortgage penalties, and real estate and legal fees for the sale or purchase of a property

Applications are made through the Ministry of Education (link to external site).


How much notice am I required to give if I want to resign?

A permanently appointed teacher shall give two calendar months’ notice to the employer, except where the teacher and the employer agree to a lesser period of notice from the teacher.  Holidays are counted as part of the notice period.

A fixed term employee who resigns before the agreed termination point shall give two calendar months’ notice except if there is less than two months remaining until the termination point. In this case the notice required shall be half of that remaining period.

Short term relievers (6 weeks or less) are required to give reasonable notice (2-4 weeks is often seen as fair) in negotiation with your employer.

Surplus Staffing

What is surplus staffing?

Surplus staffing situations happen when there are changes in a school that mean fewer staff are needed—for example if two schools merge, or if the roll declines. Some schools will have a surplus staffing and/or surplus salary unit/management situation at the end of a school year. 

PPTA supports schools and members through surplus staffing processes. Please contact your PPTA Field Officer. Your collective agreement contains provisions for what should happen if you're affected by surplus staffing.

You can find more information on surplus staffing here

Last modified on Monday, 20 May 2024 11:35