Personal Opinion Letter
By Haylee Gregory
I am an in-home educator. I work under contract with no income protection and no protection under labour laws. My agency caps us at $5.00 per hour per child.
I have worked for the agency for 7 years. I've worked seven days a week every Xmas and Easter and all other stat holidays. I have never asked for anything and always done way more than has been asked of me. To say I'm broken right now is an understatement. I'm looking for another job away from childcare if I could leave now I would but we need what is left of my income or we lose our house.
The bookwork we have to do is swamping us all and we don't get paid extra time to do it - so that's our weekends gone. Everything we do only benefits the agency. The other educators are too scared and defeated to stick up for themselves because they will have their work taken away. I got told the manager would do it but I foolishly trusted her and had a moral and legal duty of care to my remaining parents to speak up.
We had a notifiable highly infectious illness go through our agency. Our manager withheld that information which resulted in a delay for many parents and educators seeking medical advice or treatment. I had done four rounds of antibiotics before myself and my GP knew what it was. Two of my care kids got it. I had one parent who refused to test or treat, the parent's sick child was given alternate care and I had half my income taken away as punishment. I lost my contract, the parent bullied my other parents and bad mouthed me to other educators.
I did the complaints process as required in our contract, but now the manager has attacked other educators or blamed them. I can't get legal aid because I have a mortgage so I have to fight this through a disputes tribunal. My manager’s bad decision ruined my life and my family’s life. I had paid off credit cards, my daughter was doing music lessons and for the first time ever we were going away together as a family for two whole days. Now my daughter can't go to music lessons I haven't told her yet that the credit card is now maxed out to cover medical costs and to keep food on our table. That two day holiday, the first ever for us, is gone and it was just to Palmerston North - and all I keep getting is my manager is over it and she feels uncomfortable!
I have read some posts on the ChildForum page about early childhod teacher wages and work conditions and they all just confirm how much worse my situation is and how crapped on we are in the home-based agency as contractors (it's not PORSE).
Any suggestions or help I would be truly grateful for. Other than that, I suppose read this so you all know what an in-home ECE agency shouldn't be.
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