Early learning centres left shortchanged by funding increase

03 June 2021

Many early learning providers are questioning if they can afford to opt-in to the teacher Pay Parity funding scale, saying it’s set to leave them worse off, when they can least afford it.

“For many, the funding increase won’t cover the new wage rates they’re expected to pay. It’s not the first time, and extremely disheartening when we’ve waited so long for funding fairness,” said Early Childhood Council CEO.

“The sector’s been awarded $170 million to address pay parity, where teachers working in centres and those working in kindergartens are currently paid differently. Members are telling me we’ve been sold a pup.”

To access the funding increase, centres must agree to adopt the six step Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement pay scale – but feedback from centre owners and managers is they can’t make the books balance, and are left feeling frustrated once again, saying:

  • “I just can’t see why any operator in the country would go down this path.”
  • “If we moved to this funding band we would have to close our doors and we have three centres. I’m gutted for our teachers as they so deserve this pay increase, and I can’t fulfill it. I am deeply troubled.”
  • “$170 million. This is a fraction of the actual cost of what this Government has promised to our teachers. The Government is not funding what they are telling a hugely vulnerable and disrespected workforce that they are.”
  • “How they expect us to increase wages and not fund these increases is beyond me. We will have to increase our parents fee considerably to cover costs - or close.”

“Teachers are expecting a pay rise, when signing up for this pay scale means their employers can’t pay it. Why would you go near it if it leaves you worse off? Many are questioning the maths behind the increase, and I don’t have answers for them. The pressure is on the government to show their working,” said Mr Reynolds.

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