Extended Pay Parity not working for many early learning centres – new data
Despite more Early Childhood Education centres opting into the government’s Extended Pay Parity scheme in the last quarter, the Ministry of Education’s own data is worrying.
The pre-Christmas lift in funding rate has encouraged 54% of centres to opt into extended pay parity, but for many, the funding still falls well short of increases in teacher wages.
“We expected that more centres would opt in due to the higher rates, but interestingly 53 centres who said they’d opt into EPP in November 2022 decided against it this quarter in 2023. For many, when they check whether the funding would be sufficient to pay their teachers, they just can’t make it work,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Simon Laube.
Pay Parity is the government’s scheme to close the pay gap between teachers in early learning and care centres and their colleagues in kindergartens, who have the same qualifications and experience, but are paid more.
18 centres submitted ‘no steps’, which likely means an inability to pay even the base minimum rate and serious funding issues, or could simply be confusion with the attestation process. 14 centres closed their doors in this quarter.
“We warned in December that centres would find it harder and harder to attract and retain more experienced teachers at the current settings, and there’s nothing in this data to suggest otherwise.”
“As always, we’re advising members to do their sums carefully and only opt in to Extended Pay Parity if it’s financially sustainable for them” said Simon Laube.