$300 Million Government Fund Announced for Early Childhood Educators
(News4us.com) July 21, 2013
In a recent announcement by Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis.
Early childhood educators across Australia will presently commence receiving improved wages through a $300 million Federal Government fund.
Early Childhood and Child Care Minister Kate Ellis today declared how Long Day Care Providers can apply for funding to increase employee wages while a case for longer term equal remuneration is being considered by the Fair Work Commission.
“The evidence is now clear that qualified early childhood educators are critical to driving better learning outcomes for children during their early years.”
“The Early Years Quality Fund is about moving entirely away from the out dated view that early childhood educators are merely babysitters – they are so much more than that.
“The Productivity Commission has made it clear that if we want to attract and retain qualified early childhood educators, then wages will need to increase, particularly in long day care centres.”
Numerous education and care providers already pay above the Award – with about one in four staff covered by enterprise agreements and many other staff paid at above award rates through other agreements.
The Government’s Early Years Quality Fund will support more education and care providers to deliver wage increases to this sector through enterprise agreements – $3.00 per hour increases for Certificate III qualified educators with proportional increases across the classification scale.
Ms Ellis released the Program Guidelines for Long Day Care providers to gain a full understanding of the assessment process and eligibility criteria before applying.
“I encourage all Long Day Care providers to read the Guidelines and consider making an application when the grants open on 23 July and applications will be assessed on an ongoing basis,” she said.
Fifty per cent of this fund has been set aside so that small child care providers can apply for grants without having to compete with large providers.
The key requirements that were announced in March will remain:
a demonstrated commitment to the implementation of the National Quality Framework
a commitment to fee restraint
fee transparency requirements for families
and the delivery of wage increases through an enterprise agreement
“This announcement is good news for parents who want the peace of mind of knowing their child is being educated and cared for by someone they’ve developed a strong and constant bond with – and not a new person each week.
“The Fund is an important first step towards the development of a professional early childhood workforce.
“The Government has also established a Pay Equity Unit within the Fair Work Commission to undertake research and provide information in relation to matters relating to pay equity including equal remuneration cases.”
This week United Voice filed an Application for an Equal Remuneration Order in the Fair Work Commission.
The Program Guidelines and further information about the Early Years Quality Fund can be found at www.deewr.gov.au/early-years-quality-fund.
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