The IEU claim for equal remuneration for early childhood teachers will be before the Fair Work Commission in Sydney for nearly three weeks of hearings between 26 July and 26 September 2018. Most of the evidence will be heard in the two weeks from 26 July.The Union will be represented by two barristers in this complex case.
The case is brought under the Equal Remuneration provisions of the Fair Work Act. The Union is seeking the same rates of pay for early childhood teachers as applies to male primary school teachers and male professionals such as engineers. The Union’s claim is based on the qualifications required and the responsibilities of the work, which all form part of the ‘work value’ of the job.
The differences in pay between primary school teachers and early childhood teachers are stark. Despite having the same degrees as any other teacher and having the same HELP debts, first year preschool teachers earn $16,000 less than primary teachers. After nine years the difference can be up to $30,000 per annum.
The Union’s case is supported by early childhood university academics, union witnesses in NSW and interstate and early childhood teachers themselves. We have also called primary teachers and engineers as comparators. Job evaluation experts, Mercers, will give expert evidence comparing the jobs of early childhood teachers and engineers.
Witnesses from the early childhood sector opposing the Union’s claim are all owners of private child care centres.
A decision is not expected until some time after the hearing concludes at the end of September.