The IEU lodged evidence and submissions to support its equal remuneration claim for early childhood teachers just before Christmas. The Union is seeking pay rises for university qualified teachers in preschools and child care centres.
This is the latest step in the IEU case that has been running before the Fair Work Commission since 2013. The evidence in the case will be heard by the Fair Work Commission in late July and early August this year with final submissions in late September. The case is quite separate from the case being run by United Voice on behalf of child care educators who hold qualifications below university level.
The IEU claim is based on comparisons with university qualified male employees, male teachers in primary schools and male engineers. At present, teachers in early childhood, who are almost all female, can earn tens of thousands of dollars less than teachers in schools. For example, the top modern award rate for a teacher in a child care centre is less than $70,000, whereas a teacher in a primary school earns close to $100,000.
The claim only affects a small proportion of the overall number of staff in preschools and child care services and the Union calculates the impact on costs would be relatively small. Many not for profit services are already paying rates close to the IEU claim. However, a large number of for profit services pay at or only slightly above modern award rates. The claim affects both stand alone services and those attached to schools. Almost all early childhood services attached to schools pay the same rate as applies to teachers in those schools, but a small number of services pay early childhood teachers less than the rate received by teachers in the same schools.
The Union considers that parents would not necessarily bear the brunt of these increases. The sector is already funded by state and federal governments to the tune of billions of dollars. Governments should also fund fair pay rates for university qualified teachers as they are so important to children’s development.
The importance of university qualified teachers to improved learning and social outcomes has been known for decades and is a central plank of the federal government strategy for early childhood education and care.