Early Childhood Council (ECC) chief executive PETER REYNOLDS responds to ECUA’s article about early childhood educators’ wage rates.
I would like to balance the argument proposed by ECUA in their opinion piece. It should be brought to your readers’ attention that the wage rate attestation set by the Ministry of Education is the minimum ECE teachers are actually paid.
This is the minimum teacher wage rate, not the maximum. Secondly, it is based on a collective employment agreement rate, the ECE Collective, negotiated by NZEI, the teacher’s union – something that ECUA appears to have missed.
The Early Childhood Council conducts an independent survey of centres each year on salary and wage rates for a wide range of childcare positions. Our 2017 survey, contributed to by over 275 childcare centres around the country, shows the wage rate for a Q3 ECE teacher quoted by ECUA is at least $4 per hour understated. This is consistent with the other quoted rates in the opinion piece.
The wage issue relates to the extent of government subsidy funding, which has been cut back since 2011. It’s crucial that people hear that ECE teachers doing the same job are receiving different levels of wage support. Kindergarten teachers have been given four pay increases by the government since 2011 without consideration for pay parity across the ECE sector. We don’t begrudge kindy teachers receiving what they get from government. But we do want the government to review the situation to ensure that all ECE teachers receive the same rate, something that used to be the case prior to 2011.
Paying ECE teachers the same as their primary colleagues is a laudable goal, but I suspect that long term it will come at a cost – rather than an investment – that is unpalatable to our current government.