FAIR PAY: Good Start Early Learning Centre’s Tania Simpson and Daniel Willis spent the day educating young Jethro and Loki yesterday.
FAIR PAY: Good Start Early Learning Centre’s Tania Simpson and Daniel Willis spent the day educating young Jethro and Loki yesterday. LEIGH JENSEN

Child carers call for pay rise

CHILDCARE workers on the Coffs Coast want to be recognised as early childhood educators and not just preschool babysitters.

Afterall the first five years of a child's lives are said to be the most valuable learning years.

More than 60 local childcare workers this week attended a briefing on the United Voice Big Steps campaign calling for fair pay conditions as the Federal Government investigates new funding assistance for the early childhood sector.

"We do this job for the love and not the money, but it's just so hard to retain good staff in child care because of the pay rates," Coffs Harbour Goodstart Early Learning centre director Tania Simpson said.

Average hourly pay rates for childcare workers range from $13.58 to $22.85, for childcare assistants $12.19 to $22.17 and for care leaders $15.88 to $22.14.

"We want to ensure affordable fees for parents, absolutely, but we also need to make sure lowly paid educators at the very heart of delivering quality education and care are paid enough to stay in these jobs," United Voice assistant national secretary Sue Lines said.

"Australian families deserve more affordable early childhood education and the high quality workforce to deliver it.

"Specifically we will be seeking for the Federal Government to directly support the early childhood education workforce by helping to close the wages gap, which sees highly trained educators paid little more than the minimum wage."

Research shows early child care educators are leaving the sector at a rate of 180 workers per week because they cannot afford to stay in the profession.



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