Government short-changes ECE teachers’ pay parity funding
Early learning centres say the government’s $170m budget initiative to close the pay gap between kindergarten and early learning centre teachers is short-changing the sector to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars and is unaffordable to take up.
77% of surveyed Early Childhood Council members say they won’t opt-in to the government’s pay parity offer.
The new funding falls well short of the increased teacher wage rates for most centres – providers’ only options for making up the gap are increasing parent fees, reducing their number of qualified teachers or going further into debt once again. Simply put, the extra funding offered by the government doesn’t equal the increased wage bill!
Unless the rules change, parents will pay more for early learning, children will miss out and more centres will close.
The Early Childhood Council says the government must make changes, or risk seeing the funding go unallocated.
“Teachers deserve to be paid the same as their colleagues in kindergartens. The government needs to make changes so it’s realistic and affordable for providers to access the Budget’s $170m, otherwise our teachers and children will keep missing out,” said ECC President Dr Darius Singh.
“The government promised that ‘If re-elected, Labour will ensure all 17,000 teachers working in education and care centres are paid what they deserve.’ If the Minister wants it, he should pay for it, not keep putting it on providers.”