New legislation opens door for pay rises for early childhood education and care teachers 

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

New legislation opens door for pay rises for early childhood education and care teachers 

The Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch, which represents early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers in NSW and the ACT, is lodging an application before the Fair Work Commission today to allow supported bargaining for an enterprise agreement with a block of long day care employers in NSW. 

From today (6 June), the Secure Work Better Jobs Act reforms make it easier for unions to bargain for enterprise agreements with groups of employers. The IEU, along with the United Workers Union (UWU), which represents ECEC educators in NSW, and the Australian Education Union (AEU), which represents ECEC teachers in Victoria, are jointly lodging the application. 

A group of over 20 ECEC employers in NSW has agreed to be part of the application. As it is supported bargaining, the funding body, which is the Federal Government in this case, will also be a party to the discussions. 

Mark Northam, Secretary of the Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch, said the new legislation paved the way to address long-term inequity in the ECEC sector. 

”The ECEC sector plays a crucial role in the education of our young citizens, and improved recognition of their value and professionalism is long overdue,” Northam said. “However, four-year university trained ECEC teachers in some long day care centres are only paid modern award rates. 

“This means they could be earning $30,000 a year less than school teachers with the same qualifications. 

“Unsurprisingly, there is a crippling workforce shortage in the ECEC sector, with employers unable to recruit and retain staff. The 60 employers participating in this application nationally (with the three unions) want to pursue an enterprise agreement under the new supported bargaining stream. This is a historic step in utilising the new provisions. 

“We hope improved pay should flow from this supported bargaining process quite quickly, as well as conditions which provide better access to professional development, so teachers can more easily maintain their accreditation,” Northam said. 

The application will be lodged at the Fair Work Commission in Melbourne at 10am today. 


IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam, 0427 667 061 

Media Advisor Sue Osborne, 0430 220 254, 

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 32,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post-secondary colleges. 

Authorised by Mark Northam, Secretary, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch