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96% Of ECE Centres On Pay Parity, But Significant Issues Remain For Teachers And Providers


Ministry of Education data shows that 96% of Education and Care Centres have opted into Pay Parity, with 42% on Full Pay Parity. But in spite of improved teacher pay, it appears to have exacerbated the steady number of centre closures, with no measurable improvement for children and families to access quality centres.

“Despite hundreds of millions invested in Pay Parity, it’s never been more difficult for a provider to hire a qualified teacher, and more centres are closing. Children, parents, centres and teachers, not to mention tax payers, deserve better,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Simon Laube.

Pay Parity is designed to reduce the pay gap between teachers in education and care centres and their counterparts in kindergartens, who’ve been paid a lot more for doing the same jobs with the same qualifications.

Despite 42% of centres opting into Full Pay Parity, the scheme’s drivers remain flawed, with centres with qualified but less experienced teachers incentivised to opt in. Centres employing more experienced qualified teachers are less likely to opt in, as the gap between their Pay Parity wage costs and government funding is significant. This shortfall is not financially sustainable to be absorbed by providers, and is frequently passed on to parents in higher childcare fees or centres simply have to close.

Community-owned and smaller centres, who are more likely to employ highly experienced staff, are worst hit with 10 out of 12 centres that closed in the 1 March funding period were community owned, including six from Kauri Kids.

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“What was the plan for success? Pay Parity is widely adopted, and we still have a massive teacher shortage, providers struggling financially and smaller community centres being rendered financially non-viable. The sector warned the previous government of this outcome, and they ploughed on regardless,” said Simon Laube.

An ECC survey shows that wages are now down the list in job satisfaction factors for ECE teachers, behind professional development, teacher / child ratios and support from management.

“The current government’s commitment to a funding review is a huge opportunity to fix this mess. It can’t start soon enough.” said Simon Laube.

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