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Early Childhood Services Do Strive To Increase Pay For All Staff

From 1 July 2020, education and care services will receive the additional funding through a 2.3% increase in their subsidy rates. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the funding was specifically for early learning services to improve the pay of up to 17,000 qualified teachers.

The minimum salary for teachers working in early childhood education centres was either $45,491 or $46,832, depending on the qualifications held by the teacher. On 1 July 2020, the minimum salary has increased to $49,862 – bringing them in line with kindergarten teachers’ minimum pay.

“While we have welcomed the increase, the funding boost may only enable employers to pay the new attestation rate. There are many other teachers in the profession who have been underpaid for far too many years that will not benefit from this says Kathy Wolfe, Chief Executive of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand.

“Our members and those who are party to the ECECA want to value teachers, but the 2.3% for those who have one or more teachers under the current attestation rate will be hit with between 5-8% pay increases. For those services with teachers over the attestation rate that are trying to offer an increase, a 2.3% increase in per child hour funding doesn’t necessarily equate to a 2.3% pay increase for all their teachers in the service.”

“In practice, whether the 2.3% covers the additional salary costs varies from employer to employer, depending on how many teachers they have on the first 3 steps of the teachers’ scale. We are aware that for some employers, the additional funding may not be sufficient to cover the increased costs, says Ms Wolfe.

“Across the country there are many private service providers and community boards who would love to be able to afford to pay all their teachers more but are constrained by inadequate government funding.”

“Our member service employers absolutely want to value and pay their teachers at the level of their peers in kindergarten and primary. To do this they need the years of underfunding to be rectified. The only other option is to increase fees and for many community services this is just not an option as this puts more strain and stress on whānau.”

Minister Hipkins has said that this is a first step towards pay parity for all qualified ECE teachers, but for some, today, that gap is looking even wider. We support the call for the government to clearly lay out its plan to get teachers in early childhood to pay parity with other teachers.

“As well as the increased attestation rate, which is now in effect, there are a number of the positions that are also impacted by the increase in the minimum wage, which increased to $18.90 on 1 April 2020. Both of these changes represent significant percentage increases to those employees who are affected by them.

“Te Rito Maioha would like to acknowledge the incredible work that ECE services and teachers provide their tamariki and whānau each and every day to ensure our youngest citizens have the best start in their learning journey.

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