Late Pay Parity red tape could see teachers miss out on pay rise

24 September 2021

70% of surveyed providers won’t opt in to the government’s Pay Parity offer after months of waiting, meaning teachers could miss out on the pay increase promised by the Minister of Education.

“Providers were promised Pay Parity progress and got a pile of homework instead. It’s late and complicated. If teachers miss this funding round, they’ll feel the government has broken its promise to them,” said Early Childhood Council President Dr Darius Singh.

The government announced $170m funding in May’s budget to help close the gap between ECE centre and Kindergarten teacher pay, with a wage scale tied to the Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement.

Final teacher pay rates were confirmed only two weeks before the 1 October deadline for opting in, giving providers little time to compile evidence of their teachers’ full work history and qualifications to calculate their wage bill.

“This decision is too important to rush – working out if the government’s offer is economic is a massive piece of work, all while managing COVID Alert Level changes. It’s put providers, who want to pay teachers what they’re worth, under a huge amount of pressure,” said ECC CEO Sue Kurtovich.

Early indications are the vast majority of centres say the new funding rates won’t cover their increased wage bill, while July’s looming KTCA renegotiations, that centres won’t be part of, could bring further increases and conditions.

“With little time to get proper legal and financial advice, some providers might kick this decision for touch until the next funding round, meaning their teachers miss out for another four months. Surely this could have been better managed – we’re asking the government to be fair and remove some of this red tape, fast, so providers can opt in,” said Sue Kurtovich.

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