Funded pay increases: Budget 2021
- Category: Wage rates and pay parity
- Created: Wednesday, 12 May 2021 10:31
- Published: Wednesday, 12 May 2021 10:31
In a nutshell:
Today's pre-Budget announcement for ECE concerns a funding increase of $170 million, only, and over four years. It will affect possibly only one in six ECE teachers and does not deliver pay parity to anyone other than newly qualified teachers without experience and without higher qualifications.
It foresees a funding rate that recognises the bottom six steps of the Kindergarten Teachers' Collective Agreement but not yet! This “is envisaged” for 2022.
This funding increase is something. But as the funding is "over four years" it is looking like the government will be reneging on its promise of pay parity in "this term of government".
That would be a disappointment and would bring into question if government wishes to implement the Early Learning Action Plan to improve ECE quality in New Zealand.
It keeps the attestation rate in-line with the increase in the KTCA rate in July.
Salary attestation rate change
The salary attestation rate will change on 1 July this year – from $49,862 ($23.97 an hour) to $51,358 ($24.69). Teacher-led centres claiming funding for employing qualified and certificated teaching must pay all their qualified and certificated teaching staff at least $24.69 an hour from 1 July 2021.
This increase in the salary attestation amount was expected and is not really news, because in last year’s Budget the government set the salary attestation rate in line with the Kindergarten Teachers’ Collective Agreement, and salary rates for teachers on the KTCA will be going up on 12 July. It is expected that the Ministry of Education will release a new funding table showing what the increased rates from 1 July 2021 will be.
Re-introduction of salary steps for teachers with higher qualifications and experience
It is hoped that, from 1 January 2022, teacher-led centres that agree to pay all their qualified and certificated teachers at least in line with the first six steps of the collective agreement for kindergarten teachers, head teachers and senior teachers (KTCA, 2019 – 2022), will be paid higher funding rates. The Minister says in a press release that “Another set of higher funding rates will be made available from 1 January 2022 if services agree to pay teachers in line with the first six pay steps of the same collective agreement kindergarten teachers belong to." However, the MoE says that “it is envisaged”.
It is not yet clear if the funding rates for non-kindergarten centres will be at identical levels to kindergarten association funding rates or lower (kindergarten associations are funded to meet the salary costs of staff across all KTCA salary steps).
To see salary rates for first 6 steps for teachers in funded kindergartens from 12 July 2021 go here: Pay rates
To see higher funding rates for kindergartens from 1 July go here: Funding rate information and comparisons for different service types
The message has got through but there is still a long way to go
The good news
Salary attestation, as ChildForum has pointed out and strongly argued, is the tool already available and used to ensure accountability enabling pay parity to be delivered (see the history and advocacy here: https://www.childforum.com/pay-parity.html). It is pleasing to see that the Ministry of Education and the Minister have shown with today’s announcement they agree.
529 ECE services a year ago signed an agreement in principle to pay all their teachers at the rates specified in the KTCA (2019 – 2022) in return for funding do this and to sign an attestation that they were paying at those rates. Find the names of services supporting pay parity here
The government is not yet backing teachers in all licensed publicly-funded ECE services for wage increases and pay parity.
Yet home-based service providers have also indicated their agreement to pay their staff at KTCA rates.
Qualified and certificated teaching staff are also working in Playcentre and other services not covered by the pre-Budget 2021 announcement.
PRE-BUDGET SURVEY OF ECE SECTOR CONFIDENCE
An online survey of 1,000 ECE people was conducted approximately 3 – 4 weeks before Government was due to release Budget 2021.
Respondents were asked to rate government performance in implementing some key policy commitments. One of the policy commitments respondents were asked to rate was lifting teacher pay.
The government received an average rating of 1.4 out of 5 for its performance to date on lifting teaching pay (Scale: “1” unsatisfactory to 5 “outstanding”). Sixty-nine percent of respondents rated the government’s performance as “unsatisfactory” and 23 percent as “minimally unsatisfactory”.
Stories that respondents shared in their comments about the impact of low wages on themselves, or on others, were sad. Examples of some stories were:
I'm losing being a teacher. Pay check to pay check and almost went well into the negatives over covid. This is awful to treat a dedicated qualified and registered ECE teacher this way. There are people at Countdown and the Warehouse not even in managerial type positions on more per hour than me. Hence in the coming months I will be leaving my passion for a menial job just to survive. The government have broken my heart.
As a manager I spend every roster trying to make sure that each person has the hours they need to barely survive. I have two teachers who have come from domestically violent homes, 4 single mums, and the living costs are just going crazy. The little percentages here and there are a joke.
I would not be able to rent a house if I wasn’t married. Pay is disgusting.
Cynicism was expressed concerning last year's government Budget announcements on lifting teacher pay reported in the media. For example, one respondent commented: “The 2.3% funding increase that was meant to be spent on pay, we never received it in pay”. Some respondents made similar points to the respondent who said: “It doesn’t matter how much funding they hand out if its not mandatory for owners to pay a higher rate”. Another respondent commented: “The last minor increase was hardly enough to cover additional rising costs, let along significantly improving pay - especially when you have an experienced team with lower ratios than what is funded for - could only do a small increase - would have loved to do more.”
Last year's Budget provided for an increase in the minimum salary attestation rate for teachers working in non-kindergarten teacher-led centres. About this, respondents were pleased but noted it had limited benefit over the past year. In the words of a respondent: “Good the base salary starting rate has lifted it might attract new teachers although it's still only just above living wage and the minimum adult wage, and really for all that training and cost…”. Added to that point is the lack of difference it made for teaching staff who had been in the sector for more than a year or two. For example, one respondent said “I have been working from 2007 and a new teacher and me are getting paid same? How is this fair?”
Confidence in the Minister to deliver pay parity
Respondents were asked “Are you confident Minister Chris Hipkins will make sure that ECE teachers have pay parity with school teachers by the time of the next election in 2023?”
A strong lack of confidence in the minister to deliver pay parity was expressed. The majority, 64 percent, answered they were not confident that the Ministry would deliver pay parity by the end of this term in government. A further 17 percent thought that while the Minister would make progress, he would not achieve it. Only 4 percent of respondents were confident that pay parity would be delivered and 15 percent could not say/ did not know.
Further results from the pre-budget ECE sector confidence survey will be released next week.
Contact us if you are interested in a copy of the full results from the ECE Sector Confidence Survey.