Early learning teachers’ Pay Equity process in doubt

18 August 2023

The Education Minister’s decision to defer giving teachers in-principle government support to funding their Pay Equity settlement means increased uncertainty and pressure for Early Childhood employers, who have no such luxury once a settlement occurs.

Under the agreed terms, this government commitment was due before the investigation started, but has now run for nearly 12 months without it.

“We’re mid-way through the investigation, and now the sector learns this decision that we should’ve had at the start will be deferred. What are small employers in the claim meant to think? It looks like even the government, the major funder of early learning teacher salaries, can’t commit to funding the result,” said ECC CEO Simon Laube.

The sector understands that Ministers need more information on the likely impact of the claim and how they would fund it, appearing to create even more barriers to employers getting any commitment.

The ECC represents a large number of employers in this process and maintains that because early childhood is a public service, government has a role to fund the outcome. If they don’t, either parents will pay for these costs through higher childcare fees, or services will close if they become unsustainable at any new settled rates, with existing funding rates.

“The Government needs to reconsider this decision, and commit to in-principle funding now. The deadline is already overdue – and if the decision is a “no”, then they should be up-front about that,” said Simon Laube.

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