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Government Needs To Come Clean On ECE Centre Conditions

Early learning providers’ fears that the teacher pay parity pay scale is a Trojan horse for imposing conditions on private businesses by stealth appears to be coming true.

Despite Education Minister Chris Hipkins assuring the Education and Workforce select committee that ‘I have no intention of telling centres how to run their business’, the Early Childhood Council understands the Ministry is set to:

  • Require centres to mimic conditions in the Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers and Senior Teachers' Collective Agreement (KTCA) to define how a teacher moves from step to step on the pay scale, and
  • Require a compulsory process taking all of a teacher’s prior experience into account, not just at the current centre, to determine what pay scale step they start on, again mimicking the KTCA

“Where will it end? We’ve been assured there were no strings attached to aligning teacher pay with the kindergarten teachers’ collective agreement, but now it looks like we’ll have two employment conditions in place before the Bill’s even in law.”

“The majority of the over 560 submissions on the Bill opposed conditions being imposed on private businesses, and they’re set to be ignored,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.

These two conditions will take away providers’ ability to reward performance and inflate the wage bill significantly. With funding falling short for many, centres are set to be short-changed further should the Bill goes through.

“Providers have pushed hard for clarity through the Select Committee process – unless there’s another explanation, to find employment conditions are now attached to Pay Parity feels underhanded from the government,” said Mr Reynolds.

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