Don’t Trojan horse kindergarten conditions into centres

27 May 2021

Community and privately-owned early learning centres are worried conditions they didn’t sign up for will be forced upon them under the latest teacher Pay Parity policy.

To keep moving toward Pay Parity, centres must opt in to the Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement’s six step pay scale in 2022. But sector leaders say it can’t become a Trojan Horse for landing unaffordable Kindergarten conditions on centres or a step towards collective agreements throughout early learning.

“Pay Parity is fantastic, but there can’t be fish hooks for providers. It would be extremely unfair to make centres adhere to collective agreements they didn’t want or have any say in. What if Kindergartens negotiate different conditions and centres are forced to follow their lead without the funding to pay for it? I’m not sure all the implications have been thought through,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.

Kindergarten teachers are not only paid more than their colleagues in centres doing the same roles, but they benefit from government funded conditions like training, accumulating sick leave, professional development and non-contact time. Centres wanting to match those conditions must fund them out of their own pockets.

“Kindergarten corporations have the luxury of laying on gold plated conditions, but most centres simply can’t afford them when trying to meet their ratios.”

“Does the government expect services to adhere to everything detailed in the KTCA? Some voices in the sector want collective agreements for everyone, but homogenising early learning takes away parents’ choice, it’s not one-size fits all,” said Mr Reynolds.”

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