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Elementary school teachers are not entitled to the same salary as teachers

16.05.2022

Elementary school teachers are not entitled to be paid like teachers. This was decided by the 26th Chamber of the Düsseldorf Administrative Court in two judgments announced today in a public session, thereby dismissing the complaints of two elementary school teachers.

The plaintiffs are classified as civil servants for life in salary group A 12. They request classification in salary group A 13, which has a higher basic salary, and the granting of a student council allowance. They are of the opinion that both their training and the activities they carry out do not differ, or at least no longer so significantly, from those of the teachers with the qualification to teach at grammar schools and comprehensive schools, who are paid A 13 plus a study council allowance, that the unequal level of salary in Entry Office is entitled.

The background to the lawsuit is the change in teacher training in North Rhine-Westphalia, which, since the Teacher Training Act (LABG) 2009 came into force, has required the completion of a bachelor’s and master’s degree and the successful completion of a preparatory service for all teaching qualifications and has been largely aligned. One of the plaintiffs completed her training in accordance with the regulations of the LABG 2009. The other plaintiff studied within the framework of the previously conducted pilot study “Graduated courses in teacher training”, in which the harmonization had not yet been fully implemented.

The Chamber dismissed the lawsuits, arguing that the salary was not too low. The classification of teachers in salary group A 12 is consistent with constitutional law. The linking of the function of the teacher with the teaching qualification for elementary, secondary and secondary schools with an (entry) office of salary group A 12 is not objectionable because of the wide creative freedom that is open to the legislature in this area. In particular, the principle of equality is not violated because, despite the fact that the educational requirements for the various teaching positions have been largely harmonized by the LABG 2009, there are differences in content between the teaching positions. In addition, the day-to-day work of teachers with a teaching qualification for elementary, secondary and secondary schools differs from that of teachers with a qualification for teaching at grammar schools and comprehensive schools to such an extent that the different classification into salary brackets A 12 and A 13 is appropriate justify and not arbitrary. In the context of the pilot project “Graduated courses in teacher training” there were also significant differences in the training.

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An appeal against the decision can be lodged with the Higher Administrative Court for the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which the chamber allowed because of the fundamental importance of the matter.

File numbers: 26 K 9086/18 and 26 K 9087/18

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