ACTU supports test case for early childhood teachers
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus has called on the Fair Work Commission to grant a union claim for substantial pay rises for early childhood teachers. The hearings in the landmark Equal Remuneration claim start on 26 July.
“The differences in pay between primary school teachers and early childhood teachers are stark,” McManus said.
“Despite having the same degrees as any other teacher and having the same HELP debts, first year preschool teachers earn $16,000 less than primary teachers. After nine years the difference can be up to $30,000 per annum.”
McManus said the case was first lodged by the Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) in 2013.
IEUA is asking the Fair Work Commission to compare pay rates for the female dominated profession of early childhood teaching with male primary teachers and male engineers.
“This case will test whether the equal remuneration principle under the Fair Work Act can help women who are paid less because of the feminised nature of their work,” McManus said.
IEUA Assistant Secretary Carol Matthews said research consistently showed that degree qualified early childhood teachers were crucial for early years development, but the pay disparity was making it hard to attract teachers to the profession, especially in long day care centres.
“Despite the significant public funding of the sector, some employers continue to pay their female early childhood teachers less than a fair wage in comparison with the pay earned by male professionals,” Matthews said.