Day relievers

There are specific issues that day relievers face in their employment. Day relievers are often in precarious employment and not always aware of their entitlements under the collective agreements. Please find information below to help day relievers, and the people who employ them, to get this right.

Day relievers as employees

Employment agreement

Day relievers are employed on short term agreements and are covered by the STCA (secondary schools) or the ASTCA (composite/area schools).

Day relievers have an employment agreement with the school when the school asks you to do the work and you agree to do it, but it is better (and required by the ERA) that a written employment contract is exchanged between the school and you each time - this can be by email.

When you are employed, as a member you are covered by the terms of the collective agreement.

While employed, day relievers have the same rights and protections under all relevant legislation as other teachers.


Day relievers can be employed in two ways:

By the day (STCA clause 4.4.1, ASTCA clause 3.27.2a)

  • You can be asked to do a full day’s duty (including form time etc.) and are paid 1/190th of the lower of your actual pay step or step 6
  • The payment includes holiday pay.

By the hour (clause 4.4.2, ASTCA clause 3.27.2b)

  • You are paid for the hours you actually do, including non-timetabled duties you might want them to undertake.
  • You must be paid for a minimum of two hours per day and if there is a gap of more than an hour and a half between duties then you are paid an additional hour.
  • You are paid 1/950th of the lower of your actual pay step or step 6 for each hour you are employed
  • The payment includes holiday pay.

 Be clear about whether you are being employed by the hour or by the day and what duties are expected in addition to classroom relief cover. These should be put in writing (this can be in an email) but at a minimum should be stated when the job is offered.


Day relievers move up to the next step on the salary scale after they have completed 190 days or 950 hours, subject to attestation by the school acting as your main employer.

STCA 4.2.3(d)(iv), ASTCA 3.27.6

Travel allowance

Day relievers can ask for assistance with their travel costs, which is either the cost of public transport to and from the school (whether you use it or choose to use your car) or, if you are asked to use your car or if there is no public transport available.

You would be paid at the mileage rate in Appendix D for every km above 20 km you travel on the day.

STCA 7.7.1 and Appendix D 1.5, ASTCA 6.6.1 and Appendix 1.5.

Sick leave entitlement

If you are sick on a day that you have been employed to relieve you can claim sick leave if you have sick leave entitlement left.

STCA6.2.2 (c), ASTCA 5.1.1 (c)


I want to day relieve – do I need to do a Teacher Education Refresh Course?

You are only likely to need to do the refresh programme if you have been provisionally certificated for six or more years since registering, or if you are registering with the Teacher Education Council (TEC) and completed an initial teacher education qualification more than six years ago.

If you hold Subject to Confirmation certification, you do not have to complete a TER Programme.

Here's a handy checklist:

1. Do you have a TEC-recognised teacher education qualification?     

No: You can day relieve for no more than 10 days in the year. To do more, you must get teacher training and a practicing certificate. A TER programme will not allow you to do day relieving.

Yes: Go to question 2.

2. Do you have a current full practicing certificate?

Yes: You can day relieve, and do not need to undertake a TER programme.

No: Go to question 3.

3. Are you on the current Education Council Register?

(You can check here)

Yes: You can renew your practicing certificate (subject to confirmation) and continue to day relieve for three years. You do not need to undertake a TER programme.

No: Go to question 4.

4. Have you ever had a full practicing certificate?

Yes: You can get a practicing certificate (provisional or subject to confirmation) and continue to day relieve. You do not need to undertake a TER programme.

No: Go to question 5.

5. Is it more than 6 years since you became provisionally certificated?

No: You can renew your practicing certificate (subject to confirmation) and continue to day relieve. You do not need to undertake a TER programme.

Yes: Go to question 6.

6. Is it more than 6 years since you finished your teacher education qualification?

No: You can renew your practicing certificate (subject to confirmation) and continue to day relieve. You do not need to undertake a TER programme

Yes: You can teach for up to 10 days in a year but must undertake a TER programme to become provisionally certificated to day relieve for more than that. The government will generally pay the cost of the TER programme for you until 2022.

The Ministry pays the cost of TER courses for limited numbers for the next four years for teachers returning to teaching or whose registration has otherwise lapsed, including those returning from maternity or parental leave.

The courses are between three weeks and six months long, and are designed to be flexible, so that you complete only the modules you need, and can work while you do so.


Issues for relievers

Appraisal, attestation and certification

Day relievers have to be certificated and require attestation if they are still progressing up the salary scale. Attestation and certification require that a school acts as an ‘employing school’ to do their attestation and endorse their certification.

Ask the school in which you do most relieving to be responsible for your appraisal and attestation to ensure that they receive timely salary increments.

Education Council fees

Day relievers who are PPTA members should have their practicing certificate costs paid during the term of the current agreement.

Good employer practice and day relievers

The requirement to act as a good employer applies to employment of day relievers.


Day relievers as PPTA members

Rights as a PPTA member

Day relievers should be asked if they wish to be PPTA members.

The school should advise the branch chairperson of who the day relievers are and let the day relievers know how to contact the branch chairperson.

Branches should ensure that you are welcomed as a member, that you know where to go for support and that you are supported in ensuring that you are receiving your contractual entitlements and also are provided with support and professional treatment.

You have the right to vote and to participate in PPTA activities, at branch, regional or national activities.

You are advised to ensure you are on the branch list at the main school you relieve in.

You have the right to assistance from the PPTA Field Officer in your region.

You will have a PPTA membership card and can access the membership discount schemes.

You have the right to receive national PPTA communications.

The subscription for day relieving members is 1% of any income earned from relieving. If you do not earn any income in any week there is no sub payment due for that week but you remain a member of PPTA. However, if a year elapses since your last sub payment your membership also lapses.

Last modified on Thursday, 6 September 2018 15:44