Childcare and Nanny Agencies have to recruiting early childhood educators from overseas to meet childcare needs in Australia. As reported by News.com.au, Michael Crosby, from the Childcare union United Voice said “Educators are leaving at the rate of 180 every week. They love the work, but they cannot afford to stay.”
Now even the $300m Early Years Quality Fund has been suspended, so the United Voice’s bid for further increases to wages looks very unlikely now.
It’s no wonder Australia has a Childcare shortage, early childhood educators could earn more money working in supermarkets and while many educators do stay for the love of the job, some simply cannot afford to continue to work in the industry. Also, the qualified staff who stay in the industry and continue to study, despite knowing their chances of ever being paid adequately are slim, should they be penalised for caring so much for our children and the future of this country?
To give an example of how dire the situations is of the people I studied children’s services with whom I’m in contact with, not one of them is currently working in childcare. Also when I worked in an inner Sydney Long Day Centre the waiting list was 2 years and even then the director was telling parents up front they could put their names down on the waiting list and never be offered a spot for their child – and 5 days a week was almost impossible until preschool.
If wages are increased to an adequate pay which reflects the work load and qualifications required, more people will be willing to gain qualifications, enter the industry and remain early childhood educators as long term career choice. More qualified workers in the industry means more child care placements, more parents can return to work when they’re ready and for higher income families that means more tax paid to the government and for lower income families that would likely mean less paid from the government in the form of parenting payments or family tax benefits.
So, while in Australia we have qualified early childhood educators working at registers, agencies are employing staff from overseas. It’s clear to me that a wage increase to the industry is necessary.