70% of early learning providers reject or unsure on Pay Parity offer

29 September 2021

There’s widespread uncertainly about the government’s teacher Pay Parity offer, with 70% of surveyed Early Childhood Council members either rejecting or still unsure, three days before the deadline to opt in.

Providers have been given two weeks to decide if the offer, designed to close the pay gap between centre and kindergarten teachers, is financially viable before 1 October.

Just 24% of surveyed centres said they’ll opt in - with the government set to publish a ‘name and shame’ list of who’s in and who’s not, many feel they’ve no choice:

“We feel we’re being forced to. There’s a teacher shortage already, and we’ll be unable to retain staff if we don’t opt in. This will cost us over $50k”

“Was seriously considering it until we were hit with the second lockdown. The $20k loss of fees this financial year has made it untenable”

“We’re concerned about the financial wellbeing of our centre. Without extra government support we may have to close our small, fee free total immersion Māori centre”

The Pay Parity offer requires centres to adopt the first five steps of the Kindergarten Teachers Collective Agreement. 70% of surveyed centre owners say they’re uncomfortable in principle with opting in as they’ve had no say in its terms and it’s up for renegotiation in 2022 with no commitment from the Minister to fund any resulting wage increases.

“This is keeping early learning providers up at night,” said acting ECC CEO Sue Kurtovich.

“How can you sign up for an agreement you’ve had no say on? We were promised Pay Parity progress, and given uncertainty. Everyone wants to pay teachers what they’re worth but there are too many unanswered questions. Providers and teachers are feeling very let down by the Minister.”

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