A decision to cut the pay of thousands of school support staff has been ruled incorrect by the Employment Relations Authority.
The pay cut was made to around 6000 staff to accommodate an extra pay period.
The staff, including school office administrators and teacher aides who chose to annualise their pay, have received 3.7 percent less in each fortnightly pay period in 2016.
The Ministry of Education was not permitted to take this action, ERA chief James Crichton ruled.
Instead, the 26 annualised wage payments each year are required to be made in a 12-month period, not over a 54-week period as the ministry was trying to do, the New Zealand Educational Institute says.
Both parties have been ordered to return to mediation.
NZEI general manager for operations Andrew Casidy says while the outcome is positive for struggling support staff, there is still some way to go in order for the issue to be resolved.
If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, the union can return to the ERA for a compliance order.