You know that last pay rise you received? Well, what would you say to your boss if they asked you to pay it back now – just two and half weeks before Christmas?
Yeah. That. Not sure we could print our reaction here without disappointing our parents.
But that’s the situation facing the staff of 1100 childcare centres around Australia today.
Back in May, the Gillard Govenement awarded workers with a Certificate 111 qualification, an extra $3 dollars an hour, and those with a teaching qualification, an extra $6 an hour.
Today the Abbott Government has announced that they want workers to pay that money back.
The money was provided via a $300 million fund, set up for the next two years. During which time, the Fair Work Commission would undertake a study to determine whether the rates of pay in the sector were too low.
After a long and successful campaign, many in the sector were fearful that an Abbott Government would overturn this decision and take the funds as savings. These fears seemed unfounded when it was promised that all existing commitments would be guaranteed by a newly elected Prime Minister and his team.
But it wasn’t to be. A decision to re-direct the funds into professional development was announced.
This shows a complete lack of understanding of the current nature of the child care sector. One that has undergone an unprecedented period of professionalisation in the last six years.
As if that’s not bad enough. The Government decided to ask staff to pay back the money already received under the existing agreement.
Incredible…Who the hell is running this show? Can you imagine a decision like that, being taken in a commercial business? You’d be laughed at, and rightly so.
It’s devastating that early childhood education and care has become a political battleground. Governments of all persuasions see this as a “hot” button issue. They devise policy, deliver rebates and develop guidelines. Because they want you to vote for them.
And they succeed, because they play on the emotion of the issue.
Think about it, each morning, you drop off your most precious possession to a child care centre. The staff are expected to care for, educate and comfort your child. A role, almost impossible to put a price on.