16 August 2018
We noted the announcement reported on the Stuff news site
(Jessica Long (14 August 2018) Pay
equity deal will see women in education support roles receive 30 per cent pay
rise Stuff) that
329 Education Support Workers (ESWs) are to receive a 30% pay increase and that
it is aimed at those ESWs retained directly by the Ministry of Education. The Early Childhood Council's (ECC) enquiries
of the Ministry highlight that they have again not yet thought about the impact
on any ESWs employed by childcare centres.
The move by union NZEI to seek such a massive increase in
ESW pay rates will, for some, be well-overdue.
For others, this may well impact negatively on the most vulnerable of
families and children in our care.
Emerging from the debate that led to this negotiated settlement is a
call for all ESWs to be qualified, essentially turning the ESW role (over time)
into a specialist role equivalent to early childhood education (ECE)
teachers. Whether this proposal gathers
interest or not is likely to be an issue for the Education Workforce Strategy
currently under development.
A series of more immediate impacts are likely to hit our
There is little sympathy from government. The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was
reported in media on Monday that she will be "...focussing on getting businesses on board" with the government's
efforts to develop a modern economy.
This modern economy currently just wants to pay people more without any
consideration of performance, and in the ECE sector's case, without any
corresponding increase in subsidy funding.
Budget 2018 delivered a 1.6% increase in the per child
subsidy rate - or about $10,000 a year for the average childcare centre. We know that an average of 54% of all
revenues in a childcare centre go toward salaries and wages. On that basis, why wouldn't the annual
increase across all staff in an average centre be closer to $5,400 (or around
$450 per person per annum)?
We are not saying that ESWs, or teachers for that matter,
are not worth more. But in a sector so
heavily regulated and subject to government subsidisation, an increase to the
subsidy level must accompany any move in wage rates and must take account of the
ripple effect such movements create.
To read the Stuff
article mentioned above, please go here: