What is multi-employer bargaining for early childhood?
Multi-employer bargaining (MEB) is a process that allows workers in the same industry, but spread across multiple employers, to negotiate fairer pay and conditions as a group.
Why is multi-employer bargaining for early childhood needed?
Right now, tens of thousands of Australian children are missing out on quality early education and care. Low pay and poor conditions mean early childhood educators are leaving in droves and many children’s services are being forced to turn parents away. With multi-employer bargaining, we can improve wages and solve staffing shortages without increasing childcare costs for parents.
What are the benefits of multi-employer bargaining for early childhood?
- Early childhood educators and teachers will be paid a fair wage that reflects their qualifications, skills and responsibilities
- Childcare providers can recruit and keep qualified staff, ensuring more families can participate in the workforce and fewer children will miss out on the proven benefits of early education
- The government funds the pay rise, meaning the cost won’t be passed on to families
How can I access a pay increase for early childhood teachers and educators at my children’s service?
We are representing not-for-profit early education employers in multi-employer bargaining negotiations. We can represent any service that provides long day care and does not have a current enterprise agreement.
My centre has a current enterprise agreement – what do I do?
Once a multi-employer agreement has been negotiated, we can help your long day care service ensure its current agreement is equivalent and therefore able to attract the government funding.
Why is Community Child Care Association involved in multi-employer bargaining?
In late 2022, new laws passed that made multi-employer bargaining possible for our sector – and we saw an opportunity to finally achieve fair pay for educators. We quickly got to work and are currently part of a group of other peaks and unions negotiating the first-ever deal of this kind. If we are successful, this win will be a historic moment in time for the extraordinary educators shaping the next generation of Australian children.
CCC Executive Director Julie Price at a Canberra press conference
What have we done so far?
- December 2022: The Australian Government passed its Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act, making it possible for early childhood services to bargain (negotiate better pay) together as a group
- June 2023: We, along with other peaks and unions, applied to the Fair Work Commission to negotiate under the new laws
- August 2023: At the Fair Work Commission, we obtained permission to proceed with the multi-bargaining process for early childhood services
- Early September 2023: We, along with two of our members, flew to Canberra to participate in a roundtable, presenting the case for multi-employer bargaining to the federal government
- Mid-September 2023: We were given permission to bargain by the Fair Work Commission
- October 2023 – present: We are in the early stages of bargaining! Keep an eye on Facebook and LinkedIn for updates.
Julie Price with Hon Dr Anne Aly MP and Michelle Carnegie
Frequently asked questions
What are you asking the government?
We want the government to fund a wages deal that fixes the wage gap between education and care and other government-funded sectors, like aged care and teachers. That’s why we are supporting the union’s call for a 25% pay increase.
What progress has been made with multi-employer bargaining (MEB) and what are the next steps?
Will MEB apply to the whole education and care sector?
The aim is for this to set up a model that can be extended to the whole education and care sector (including family day care, kindergarten and outside school hours care).
When do you think a deal will happen?
We are united on the urgency of this issue and we want to see educators and teachers benefiting from improved wages by mid-2024.
The pay rise for aged care was only 15% – why are you asking for 25%?
The fifteen per cent is part of an interim decision and we are expecting further increases to be provided by the Fair Work Commission. We are also competing with state-funded preschools and schools, which are paid as much as twenty-nine per cent more than educators and teachers in education and care.
What happens if the government doesn’t agree to fund the pay rise for early childhood educators and teachers?
The only way we can fix this workforce crisis without increasing costs to families is with government funding. Thousands of children and families are missing out on the hours they need and want because children’s services can't find staff. If we aren’t able to make a deal, this is only going to get worse.