Pre-2016 Teacher Pay Inequity

The New South Wales Teachers Federation is actively addressing and prioritising the resolution of the pay disparity that has occurred as a result of the transition to Standards-Based Remuneration (SBR). For some teachers in public schools who commenced teaching prior to 2016, the transition onto the new pay scale has resulted in financial disadvantage in comparison to colleagues employed after 2016 and teachers in Catholic schools. It is an issue which the Federation has attempted to resolve in the context of Award negotiations with the Department and directly with the Minister of Education.

In moving forward, the Federation’s ongoing campaign in relation to this matter will:

  1. Continue to pursue this issue directly with the Minister for Education.
  2. In the event that this matter cannot be resolved directly with the Minister, ensure that this is a priority (along with other inequities such as access to SBR for school counsellors and the principal classification scheme) as we enter into negotiations around any future Award.
  3. In the meantime, provide advice and resources to assist members to raise concerns at a grass roots level in actions including:
    • Writing to their local Member of the Legislative Assembly, Minister for Education and Premier to outline the inequity of this situation;
    • Holding workplace meetings of Federation members to discuss the pay discrepancies and to pass motions addressing the effect that this inequitable situation is having on a group of its membership; and
    • Formation of Association delegations, including affected teachers, to meet with their local State MP about the need for this situation to be urgently addressed. The timing of these delegations is to line up with the week of August 12 and 16 to coincide with the NSW Parliamentary recess

Any communication which members send to Ministers or other MPs should originate from the member’s private email address, not their Departmental email address.

The Federation remains committed to the rectification of these pay anomalies for affected members.


Standards Based Remuneration represented a significant change in the way that teachers are paid and was a win for the profession overall. In the face of the Department’s call for salary progression to be determined at a local level, the Federation negotiated that teacher salaries would remain an indicative rather than actual budget item and that salary increases would continue to be based on a teacher’s ability to meet and maintain a Professional Standard. It has meant classroom teachers can reach a six figure salary within 7 years rather than taking 9 years under the Common Incremental Salary Scale.

From 2018 the transition process from the Common Incremental Salary Scale to Standards Based Remuneration saw a situation where the salaries of teachers employed after 1 January 2016 overtook those of teachers who were first employed in 2014 and 2015.The Federation has attempted to resolve concerns about the transition process with the Department on numerous occasions, most recently during negotiations for the 2017-2019 Award. However, at that time the Department refused to address it without discounting pay increases for all teachers. This would have meant that all teachers would have received pay increases of less than 2.5% per annum and have been worse off over the life of their careers.

This issue has been corrected for teachers in Catholic schools. Working outside the confines of the 2.5% state wages cap, the Catholic Education Commission for Employment Relations rectified this matter by ensuring all teachers first employed after 1 January 2014 moved directly to standards based remuneration. This means that Catholic school teachers employed in 2014 and 2015 are being paid at a higher rate than NSW public school teachers.

Seeking a political solution to this inequity, the Federation pursued these Award issues directly with the NSW Minister for Education, The Hon. Rob Stokes MP during 2018. His response was that he was unwilling to take action as it breached the NSW Government Wages Policy. However, he indicated that he had instructed the Department to ensure that it would be considered as part of the Award negotiations due to commence in 2019. The matter was further raised with both the Government and Opposition in the lead-up to the March State election in 2019 and the Federation is continuing to pursue this significant issue with the recently elected NSW Education Minister, The Hon. Sarah Mitchell MLC.