Teachers still paid 30% more in kindergartens than centres

26 February 2021

The Ministry of Education’s own data shows the pay gap between teachers in kindergartens and early learning centres hasn’t gone anywhere.

The Ministry’s Early Childhood Education Remuneration Report Summary 2020 shows the average hourly wage for a qualified kindergarten teacher is $35.04, while those in early learning centres earn 30% less at $26.91.

“Only 16% of children attend kindergarten in New Zealand. For every other provider, the numbers show these teachers aren’t valued as much,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.

“These are teachers with the same qualifications, doing the same hard work to care for our children. It’s hard to see how that’s justified,” said Mr Reynolds.

The government took the first steps to increase ECE centre teacher wages in the May 2020 budget, but with costs rising and the tough economic conditions, some centres may not survive to share it with their teachers. The sector continues to wait for the government’s next moves to close the pay parity gap once and for all.

“Any investment in early learning is good, but it’s centres’ turn for support. They’re still stumping up for increased sick pay, new public holidays and pay parity costs with no corresponding funding increase. For owners already dipping into reserves and taking no drawings to keep the doors open, relief can’t come soon enough,” said Mr Reynolds.

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