• Thu. May 19th, 2022

Covid-19 coverage needed for school support staff – Greens

The Green Party wants the government to cover extra sick days for school support staff during the pandemic.

A teacher’s aide helps children at Newmarket School in Auckland. (File photo).
Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen

Green Party education spokesman Teanau Tuiono said there was no guarantee schools would pay sick leave to teacher aides and others who exhaust their leave entitlement because of of Covid-19.

He says the pandemic could force workers to use up all of their sick days. They would then have to rely on the goodwill of their school to pay for discretionary time off for any other absences, but some schools won’t pay because the money would have to come from their operating grants.

The party says the government should step in and give support staff the same deal as teachers, whose sick days due to Covid-19 do not count towards their leave entitlement.

“It’s something that needs to be sorted out,” Tuiono said.

“I think the government needs to practically give school support staff access to the same Covid sick leave scheme as their teaching colleagues, so they can confidently self-isolate when needed to protect their students and their whānau without fear of losing their earnings.”

The Educational Institute, the support staff union, said the issue is currently being negotiated through collective bargaining.