Pay parity funding reality falls short of the hype

08 June 2021

Many early learning providers are finding the latest government announcement on closing the pay gap will leave them out of pocket.

Signing community-owned and privately-owned centres up to six steps of a pay rate from the Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement was designed as the path to teacher pay parity, but many centres choosing to take it up will end up short changed, by up to $10,000 or more for some.

The Ministry of Education is now advising centres to wait for the full funding review to get relief, and admit in their latest sector newsletter that the funding is insufficient.

“We thought the Minister’s announcement was about closing the gap, not picking winners and losers,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.

“You’d be forgiven for thinking we were set for a long-overdue boost at the pre-Budget announcement, once again it will be centres dipping into their empty pockets to fund it. You’d think the maths would have been done beforehand.”

The Minister of Education Chris Hipkins lauded the $170m investment as a step to teacher pay parity, but the ECC has calculated it will take more like $1.7 billion to reach that target.

“How can you get it so wrong? The government is putting the early learning sector through the wringer, promising teachers a pay rise their employers can’t afford. We’re promised more detail on this, centres will just be praying for maths that adds up,” said Mr Reynolds.

“After a mis-step like this, how can centres trust the promised funding review will deliver what’s needed? Providers desperately need the current broken model to be ripped up and started again to solve the wide range of systemic issues we have now. Yet another band aid to make pay parity work won’t deliver the fairness and transparency that’s desperately needed.”

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