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Early Childhood Educators Walk Off The Job Over Pay

Because love doesn't pay the rent.

08/03/2017 7:45 AM AEDT | Updated 08/03/2017 12:29 PM AEDT
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They're some of the lowest paid qualified professionals in Australia... Oh and 97 percent are female.

Early childhood educators are expected to walk off the job on Wednesday in a protest against the inadequate pay in what is an overwhelmingly female workforce.

Ninety-seven percent of qualified early childhood educators are women and are some of the lowest paid professionals in Australia, earning as little as $20 an hour.

In a move that has received the support of parents, more than 1000 educators across Australia will stop work on Wednesday, International Women's Day.

They will call on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to increase funding into the childcare sector so that the educators can receive a wage increase.

"We see early childhood education as a professional realm, but for many people they see it as babysitting," Director of Clovelly Childcare Centre, Margaret Carey, told The Huffington Post Australia.

$20 per hour and incomes that are half the national average are so low they are insulting. As educators say, 'Love doesn't pay the rent'.

"The work we do now, the curriculum which we follow (the early years learning framework from the Department of Education) -- these aspects of professionalism are not reflected in the amount of money that educators are paid."

Carey believes there would be "no doubt" that equal pay and inadequate wages would not be an issue if the tables were turned and educators were overwhelmingly male.

"We've been waiting decades and nothing has happened, so the only way we were going to have any recognition is by being visible," she said.

"I look at the position of government, they were elected not to run the country as a business but to look after all aspects of society.

"We think it needs to take responsibility for early childhood education rather than just leaving it to market forces and, if anything, it just encourages inequity."

Helen Gibbons, Assistant National Secretary of United Voice, which represents workers in the early childhood sector, said that the gross underpayment of educators was a "national disgrace" and insulting.

"Early childhood education is not something that women do just for the love of it. This is their profession and they must be paid appropriately," she said.

"$20 per hour and incomes that are half the national average are so low they are insulting. As educators say, 'Love doesn't pay the rent'."



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