July 1, 2024
Pay Parity
Sector leadership

One simple fix needed for spiralling ECE relief teacher agency fees

Spiralling relief teacher agency fees can be quickly brought down by excluding Early Childhood Education relief teachers employed in agencies from Pay Parity, say the Early Childhood Council.

“Market forces aren’t solely driving the high fee increases of relievers, they’re artificially created by the Government’s Pay Parity policy. Excluding reliever agency-employed teachers from Pay Parity will curtail the rampant fee increases,” said ECC CEO Simon Laube.


“This idea has widespread support from the childcare sector – it’s a simple, common sense way to reduce costs for centres and shut down the burgeoning, needlessly-inflated secondary market for relievers.”


In a severe teacher shortage, centres are increasingly relying on relief agency teachers to cover illnesses and vacancies. To maintain adult / child ratios and required staff regulation, they have little choice but to bring in relievers who come with a high premium cost. How much of the high fees go to the agencies’ teachers is unknown, because unlike ECE employers, agencies are not audited by the Ministry of Education to ensure they’re paying Pay Parity salary rates.


In the ECC’s last member survey, 56% of respondents said they were not so confident or not at all confident of being able to access or afford relief teachers to cover holidays or illness.

“Some providers are reporting up to a four-fold increase in relief agency costs - that’s a huge expense to cover, which can often be passed on to parents in fee increases.”

“Excluding relievers is simple, and will help address one of the drivers that makes ECE unaffordable for parents by creating significant downward financial pressure on relief teacher agency costs and encourage relief teachers to seek permanent employment. In the middle of a severe teacher shortage during COVID, we shouldn’t have pumped up relief teacher agencies using the Pay Parity policy - prompting even more ECE centres to have to go under.”

“This is a lever the Government can pull that will have an immediate clear benefit to support the early learning sector, we believe they can do it simply and quickly,” said Simon Laube.

Pay Parity
Sector leadership
Pay Parity
Sector leadership