Better pay for early childhood educators

Sunday, 28 April 2019

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure Australia’s early childhood educators are better paid, supporting a quality early education and care system that delivers the best outcomes for children.

Early childhood educators are doing the important and demanding job of educating and caring for our next generation – 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of a child’s life.

Yet they are some of the lowest-paid workers.

That’s why Labor will work with the early education sector in the first 100 days of government to increase the wages of early childhood educators in the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Labor will fund pay increases of 20 per cent to early childhood educators over 8 years – supporting workers and delivering professional pay.

As a result – the average total wages of early childhood educators will increase by an estimated $11,300.

This is in addition to any wage increases made by the Fair Work Commission as part of their annual wage review, or any additional increases in wages employers agree with their workers.

Far too many early childhood educators leave the profession – 37 per cent a year – not because they don’t love the job, but because they can’t afford to stay. If Australia wants the world’s best early education system, then we need to do more to keep our best educators in the system.

No one knows the importance of keeping quality educators in their jobs better than the millions of Australian parents who trust early educators with their children every day.

This will make it easier to attract and retain dedicated and passionate people in the profession, and it will make it easier to keep great early educators on the frontline.

Importantly, this pay rise will not affect child care fees because it will be fully funded by the Commonwealth. Fees have gone up 28 per cent under the Liberals, and families are paying enough. The pay rise will be delivered in a way that ensures the costs are not passed on to parents. There will also be audits to ensure child care centre operators pass on the pay rises in full.

Labor’s investment in quality early education will be good for jobs and good for our economy.

This is an investment in pay equity for a female-dominated industry and is another step in our plan to help with the cost of living.

Our plan will ensure every dollar goes into the pockets of the educators, not onto the bottom line of the child care companies.

We are raising the wages of early educators through direct investment – because we don’t want families paying one cent more than they must for child care.

When Labor was last in Government, we provided significant pay increases to the undervalued social and community services workforce – also mostly women.

Labor will lead a national push to help close the gender pay gap, make sure women get a fair go at work and make sure those people we trust to educate the next generation are fairly paid.

Labor has provisioned $537 million over the forward estimates.

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