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Labour Questions Redundancy Payouts For Night Class Teachers

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Sept 18 NZPA - Schools could break the law if they pay for adult education teachers' redundancies with money that was meant to provide night classes, Labour says.

In Parliament on Wednesday Labour MP Maryan Street asked Education Minister Anne Tolley about whose responsibility it was to pay redundancy to night class staff when programmes were closed down.

In May's budget, $54 million was cut from adult community education with the Government saying it paid for hobby courses.

Since then there has been intense criticism of the cut, with opponents saying courses will be slashed.

Labour has said 80 percent was being cut from the adult education budget but the Government said it was still spending $124 million over four years and money taken from the budget was being used to fund tertiary education for younger people.

Fewer than a third of more than 200 schools offering night classes have applied for the remaining $3 million of funding to continue running them, Radio New Zealand has reported.

It is unknown how many schools would keep offering courses on a user pays basis. Many schools which applied would be rejected for funding given the limited funds and a government ban on what it calls hobby courses -- anything from cooking to another language.

Ms Street said schools could breach contracts by using money meant for education on redundancy payouts.

She said there were specific requirements for what Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) funding for adult and community education could be used for which did not include redundancies.

Ms Tolley said schools should seek legal and employment advice from the TEC and the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

"I am advised that the responsibility to pay redundancy to night class staff with employment agreements lies with the employers," she said.

"The decision on whether to employ staff or contract for services is one for schools to make."

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