Govt axes childcare worker pay rise fund

The federal government will scrap a Labor-backed fund set up to give pay rises to low paid childcare workers.

The $300 million Early Years Quality Fund will be replaced with a new program to support professional development in the sector using the uncommitted monies.

“This new program will specifically target professional development opportunities that will provide improved access to childcare and early learning career paths for educators,” Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said on Tuesday.

Ms Ley urged the childcare sector to get behind the plan, saying it was shaping up as the biggest public investment in professional development in its history.

The union representing childcare workers said the government was gutting the fund and creating uncertainty for workers.

“The government is now encouraging providers to knock back the pay increase for their dedicated but woefully underpaid staff so the government can allocate the funds to a new professional development fund,” United Voice national president Michael Crosby said.

“Our preliminary advice is that the minister seems to be encouraging childcare providers to break the law. Enterprise agreements are legally binding.”

Some $62.5 million of the fund has already been accounted for in pay rise agreements involving 16 childcare providers.

Ms Leys called on these providers to “do the right thing” and join the professional development program instead.

The Australian Child Care Alliance, representing 70 per cent of the long day child care sector, backed the government’s decision.

It branded Labor’s fund unfair, saying that only about 27 per cent of educators would have been the beneficiaries of an increased wage rate of $3 to $5 per hour.

“An increase in an hourly rate is no guarantee that quality would be improved,” ACA president Gwynn Bridge said.

Opposition early childcare spokesperson Kate Ellis said the government had broken an election promise after previously saying it would honour existing contracts.

Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the government was being sneaky.

“We need to be paying the people who care for our children much better,” she told reporters.

“Some of the people who are working and caring and educating our children in childcare centres get paid less than the people who clean them.”

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Govt axes childcare worker pay rise fund–spt.html
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カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク


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