School support workers have won their battle against the Ministry of Education over this year's fortnightly pay being cut.
A calendar anomaly means this year there are 27 fortnightly pay dates in the annualised pay system for 6000 staff rather than the usual 26, meaning workers will get less money in each pay packet.
The ministry says the calender quirk happens every 11 years and it is still paying the same total amount.
The union, the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), took the case to the Employment Relations Authority which has ruled there must be 26 pay dates in a 12-month period.
The two sides will go to mediation to reach an agreement.
At the ERA hearing on 7 April, one of those affected, Susan Renshaw from Aotea College, told the authority that school support staff were already paid low wages, and this would be a further kick in the teeth. The union's lawyer, Peter Cranney, described the quirk as a "monstrosity".
The ministry's lawyer, Sally McKechnie, said it was something the ministry could do little about. "This is not an invention of the ministry or something the ministry can change - there are 27 pay periods in this year," she said.
At the hearing, the ministry said there were three potential options; pay workers the normal 26-week amount then skip the 27th pay day, pay workers the normal amount then a bonus 27th fortnight or move the start of the next pay cycle forward.