Supporting the independent education community

News release: Here’s why early childhood teachers need a pay rise

The Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) is fighting for better wages for early childhood teachers at the Fair Work Commission.


It’s not just a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of survival for some teachers. The IEUA’s feedback has shown that early childhood teachers, despite having the same degrees as school teachers, are struggling to make ends meet.


First year preschool teachers earn on average $15,000 less per annum than primary teachers. After nine years the difference can be around $32,000 per annum.


Here are just a few of the typical comments the IEUA has been receiving from its early childhood teacher members when asked the question ‘why I deserve a pay rise’:


Mrs C

How long I’ve worked in early childhood education: eight years

Why I deserve a pay rise: I am so poorly paid that in winter I cannot afford to use a heater.



How long I’ve worked in early childhood education: 19 years

Why I deserve a pay rise: I am embarrassed that my friends say I work harder than anyone they know and are aware that my pay does not reflect this. I am embarrassed that my brother at the age of 17 earned more than I did in a traineeship than I did after 10 years in the industry. I am embarrassed that I earned more (more than double) working overseas as a governess. I am embarrassed that as a single professional I am unable to afford a loan for a home. I am deeply saddened by the exit of incredible teachers from the industry due to burnout and lack of recognition for what we do.


How long I’ve worked in early childhood education: 18 years
Why I deserve a pay rise:
I simply deserve to be paid the same pay scales as my primary and secondary teachers. I graduated with a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) but have been financially disadvantaged for selecting to choose my passion for the early childhood profession. This passion has not paid off long term. A bitter taste lies in my mouth lies when I think of the 18 full time years I have missed out on equal pay - how big is that financial gap?


How long I’ve worked in early childhood education: 23 years
Why I deserve a pay rise: I don’t just ‘work’ in early childhood, I’ve dedicated my life to it. I live it, breathe it, love it. I manage my service (all aspects of it) as well as teach, ensuring we offer high quality early childhood education and care programs. I know our children and families intimately. I am also constantly upskilling through professional development opportunities. I am a real teacher but get no recognition of our qualifications, skills or dedication– yet I work with the most important and vulnerable age group (3-5 year olds) that exist.



How long I’ve worked in early childhood education:30 years.

Why I deserve a pay rise: In my early years of teaching I worked as a waitress to supplement my income as an early childhood teacher. I was paid more to deliver food to tables than I was to manage our local preschool. At the time my step father asked me “Why don’t you work in hospitality instead of preschool?” I responded “because I love preschool teaching. After after 30 years of teaching, nurturing and caring for our most vulnerable, impressionable and at times challenging citizens just because I love it, why should I be paid less.



Why I deserve a pay rise: For teachers heading closer to retirement like me the effect is compounded because lower wages have meant less ability to save for retirement or to put into superannuation. For those at the start of their career they can see that this will add up to a big difference in superannuation by the time they retire, compared to teachers in school systems.



In early childhood education since 1981.

Why I deserve a pay rise: Where is the recognition and respect for early childhood teachers!? We deserve equal if not more for the roles we have in our teaching profession. I am still as passionate about early childhood but I am fed up with the lack of respect and recognition for us as teachers. I am angry that when I retire I will have a lot less superannuation thus I will be less comfortable financially than my colleagues who chose to teach in primary education.


Click here to download the full news release


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