Extended Pay Parity still leaves providers short

16 December 2022

Early learning providers are being advised to check the numbers carefully before opting into the government’s Extended Pay Parity, part of the Labour Party’s promise to finally give teachers in education and care centres pay parity with their colleagues in kindergartens, which was given a 4.5% funding boost this week.

The Early Childhood Council is advising its members the new rates will mean more providers can opt in, but centres with the most highly experienced teachers will still find the funding insufficient.

“Our data shows that most experienced teachers work in smaller centres, they’re the ones that continue to be hit hardest by under-funding from Extended Pay Parity conditions. This isn’t much of a Christmas present for these centres, many of whom are facing tough decisions now on whether they can open again in January,” said ECC CEO Simon Laube.

“Parents can expect the funding shortfall will mean increased early learning fees and less choice of where they can send their tamariki.”

Providers have been struggling with the shortfall between Pay Parity funding and the increased wages, with 52% of surveyed ECC members saying they were opted into the scheme despite it not making financial sense.

This week’s funding increase was accompanied by no corresponding increase in the required pay scales, confirming that the original calculations were not fit for purpose. There’s still no transparency around how the funding rates are calculated, so centres can’t be confident this mistake has been corrected.

“Our message to centres is don’t rush in to Extended Pay Parity – take the time to check your numbers before you claim it, if it works for you, in the March 2023 funding round,” said Simon Laube.

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