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Childcare Costs to skyrocket!

By 25 February 2010 58

They have done it again, our Government (local) have made another dumb decision without thinking about the consequences…..Can you believe it – PORTABLE LONG SERVICE LEAVE…… No, not for the Public Service, not for everyone – just some people – actually just for childcare workers……So, all childcare workers in the ACT are now entered into a compulsory portable Long Service Leave scheme……What does that mean:

1) The employer now has to pay a levy of all wages to an authority, 2) that authority then pays the childcare worker for Long service leave after five years..

What a nightmare: It is all negative:

1) The employer will increase childcare costs to fund for the levey – so expect an increase in June!! 2) The workers now have no requirement to stay loyal to an employer – defeating the whole purpose of Long Service Leave, i.e Long Service Leave is earnt for Long Service. 3) The workers can change companies willy nilly, and their new employers may hire them, and then be immediately forced to provide them with Long Service Leave, even if they have only just commenced work!

I cannot believe the ramifications – why doesn’t this affect every single employee in the ACT, Why doesnt this occur all over Australia – well the answer to the second question is easy!! Cause it’s stupid!! and it is going to further increase the cost of childcare.

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58 Responses to Childcare Costs to skyrocket!
#31
CanberraMum5:58 am, 27 Feb 10

Hey All, I am so glad I started something here. Excellent.

OK, my problem is that child care workers are not all that underpaid – I think it is a major misconception…I actually asked at my centre (yes they were the ones who informed me that fees would increase as a result of the legislation) and overall most of them said they were actually happy, they are governed by an Award….and work the same as heaps of other employees everywhere!! I asked – to get you some facts and it seems most of them earn $18 an hour without qualifications, and if they have qualifications it is around $22-$28 an hour… Is that really that bad – I don’t know? It seems a hell of a lot higher than my starting salary out of Uni…,most of the workers at my centre are young – and none of them have left since I’ve been there.

So why doesn’t everyone get hit by this portable long service leave, why not the poor underpaid beautician, the cook, the aged care worker, the cleaner, the hairdresser, the baker, not candlestick makers (they are all on about the same hourly wage).

I’d like to make it clear, I don’t have a problem at all with Long Service Leave, I’m hanging for the opportuntity to take mine – but the portable aspect bugs me, it means these girls won’t stay to look after my kids – they have no incentive to….but my fees will go into a fund, that may never actually get paid to the girls….by the way, the centre is not happy, they didn’t even know about it until last week when they got an invited to an information session…and the employees don’t know anything about it either..

p.s. I wish to hell I had a second FBT car, instead of my thirteen year old car, I don’t have a plasma, I used the $5000 to pay the pediatrics bill and buy a car-seat, a cot, and the ability to stay home for as long as possible before putting my last child into care! So the extra $5 a day, $50 a fortnight is going to hurt!! But it would hurt you more if I stopped working, and started on family asisstance…..

#32
Clown Killer8:34 am, 27 Feb 10

As far as I’m concerned they could double child care woke salaries and they’d still be under-paid.

#33
Tooks9:40 am, 27 Feb 10

CanberraMum said :

Hey All, I am so glad I started something here. Excellent.

OK, my problem is that child care workers are not all that underpaid – I think it is a major misconception…I actually asked at my centre (yes they were the ones who informed me that fees would increase as a result of the legislation) and overall most of them said they were actually happy, they are governed by an Award….and work the same as heaps of other employees everywhere!! I asked – to get you some facts and it seems most of them earn $18 an hour without qualifications, and if they have qualifications it is around $22-$28 an hour…

What child care centre are you talking about? I know several people working in childcare who are on nowhere near those wages.

#34
vg12:32 pm, 27 Feb 10

“The original entitlement of 13 weeks after 15 years was intended to give immigrants time to return home to Europe (6 weeks each way by sea) to visit their family.”

Bollocks. LSL starts after 10 years anyway

and

http://www.qleave.qld.gov.au/

To the OT. Dry your eyes or look after your own kids. The choice is yours

#35
CanberraMum12:54 pm, 27 Feb 10

OK, so I’ve learnt to do even more maths as part of this. Chidlcare workers must either be paid under a modern award or an enterprise agreement…and the enterprise agreement cannot provide less pay than the Award:

For childcare workers (from the award) The starting salary for someone straight into the industry brand-new is $14.66. This is the same as Hairdressers, Cooks, Cleaners, Hospitality workers (I checked all the awards) – it appears to rise pretty quickly, and under the basic level of pay they basically cannot do anything…. For levels of work – and time in the job, it goes up to $17.95….once they have a Diploma the base rate of pay cannot be below $19.25 – and goes right up to $25. As I also understand it, of the at least two staff in each room (or something like that – one must hold a diploma, and be supported by one who is qualified with a certificate…)

This is exactly the same as those other industry’s – so my point is made…..why just single out childcare workers for portable long service leave, they are not lower paid than any other area of general employee….

Tooks, you should tell your friends to check the award – they may be getting screwed…and if they are enterprise bargaining, perhaps they are getting other better entitlements that balance out their lower wages…free childcare for example.

#36
Icepoet2:47 pm, 27 Feb 10

I currently earn $21 per hour or more stacking supermarket shelves. CanberraMum, you think that someone who is paid to take care of YOUR kids and is fully qualified – indicating they have spent significant time,energy and money in educating themselves so that they can be as well trained as possible to help YOUR kids grown up as healthy, well adjusted children – is not being underpaid at a mere $19.25 an hour, when anyone with no qualifications and over the age of 21 can walk into a supermarket stacking job and earn $2 more per hour?

I have a friend who is a childcare worker and she works bloody hard for her money. She spends the day caring for, teaching and in general being a bloody good role model for the children she is responsible for and I have seen numerous instances of her returning home from work distressed because something bad has happened to one of ‘her’ kids (such as an illness or distressing family issue). She is a loving and kind person who works in field because she genuinely cares about children and wants to see them grow up healthy and happy. Anyone who thinks that the time, energy and love that she puts into taking care of these children is truly worth a measly $19.25 per hour, quite simply has rocks in their head.

#37
Clown Killer4:05 pm, 27 Feb 10

For childcare workers (from the award) The starting salary for someone straight into the industry brand-new is $14.66. This is the same as Hairdressers, Cooks, Cleaners, Hospitality workers (I checked all the awards)

Keeping in mind of course that these people are looking after little children – in my book thats a fair bit more important than giving my fringe a trim, making me a toasted sandwich, cleaning my loo or pouring me a beer.

#38
Spectra4:54 pm, 27 Feb 10

Keeping in mind of course that these people are looking after little children – in my book thats a fair bit more important than giving my fringe a trim, making me a toasted sandwich, cleaning my loo or pouring me a beer.

Indeed. To say nothing of the stress of dealing with parents versus dealing with haircut customers, people who want a sandwich or, frankly, pretty much any other class of customer you can possibly imagine. Don’t get me wrong, many parents are quite lovely people, but more than a few think that because you’re looking after their child it gives them a right to treat you like utter crap, threaten you, demand completely unrealistic standards of care (particularly in view of what they’re paying) and so on. Hell, just look at the attitude of the original poster: “It’s all negative”! Which is to say, “these people don’t matter one iota to me if I’m going to be slightly out of pocket (but god help them if I think for one second that they’re giving anything less than the ultimate care and attention to my wonderful, infallible children)”.

I, personally, would not work in that industry for twice the rates that are being talked about here.

#39
Wraith5:02 pm, 27 Feb 10

$25 per hr is crap for the work they do, end of story, they work hard and put massive effort into what they do (most of them anyway but that’s another thread).

I’ve met public service contractors being paid $100 per hr, with less work ethic and brains, is that justified? Rhetorical question by the way.

You’re not going to hurt us by staying home to look after your kids, none of us here are going to feel the payments to you if you do that.

IcePoet, you hit it perfectly there, my mother works in childcare and carries the same ethic, she works because she loves it not for the money that’s for sure.

#40
canberrachildcarewor5:42 pm, 27 Feb 10

I have been watching this post with interest the last few days and I must say I am really impressed with the support for childcare workers from most of the comments posted.

I have been working in the industry since I was 19 and am now 25. I hold my diploma and am a team leader in a nursery room. I get paid about 21.70 and I am responsable for the care and saftey of 12 babies.

I work for one of the best employers in the ACT. My wages are above award and more importantly my workplace conditions are great.

Unfortunatly, this is rare to come by in the childcare industry.
The only way I could see a childcare worker earning $25 an hour is if they are the director of large centre or if they are a fully qualified teacher(which is rare to find in this industry, as teachers get better pay and conditions as you’d imagine)

Despite awards and legislation our conditions are pretty sad really.

By law in canberra the ratio of babies to staff is 5:1. Would anyone here like to take care of 5 babies for an hour for $20..Anyone?

Often employers will breach these limits, At previous centres I have been looking after 12 babies with only one other staff member, we had licencing there several times..which did not stop them from booking in more children then we where allowed to have.

So when the union came to our work not long ago and told us about the portable long service leave victory I was happy. I signed a petition(along with many others in the industry) to get this incentive. I hope it will keep some workers in the industry, as it might inspire them to look for a better employer rather then leaving childcare altogether..which is what most people do. And then perhaps childcare employers will raise the standards.. Not likely though!!

I hate to break it to you canberramum, but if you want quality care for your children, you either have to pay for it or look after them yourself

#41
Anna Key7:38 pm, 27 Feb 10

So for $25 (max) per hour they
- entertain the kids
- change multiple nappies
- deal with tantrums, screams, distress, injuries
- deal with the sometimes over the top demands from parents
- are not allowed to swear or show anger
- have a legal obligation to report suspected abuse
- deal with distressing family situations
etc

#42
moneypenny26129:54 pm, 27 Feb 10

CanberraMum said :

The starting salary for someone straight into the industry brand-new is $14.66. This is the same as Hairdressers, Cooks, Cleaners, Hospitality workers (I checked all the awards) – it appears to rise pretty quickly, and under the basic level of pay they basically cannot do anything…. For levels of work – and time in the job, it goes up to $17.95….once they have a Diploma the base rate of pay cannot be below $19.25 – and goes right up to $25.

You make it sound like $25/hr is a princely wage for a skilled, experienced worker. It’s not. $25/hr is like $40k a year for a full time worker. That’s a lot less than the current average wage (granted, the average wage includes the high earning blokes – but still).

#43
Clown Killer12:55 am, 28 Feb 10

I hate to break it to you canberramum, but if you want quality care for your children, you either have to pay for it or look after them yourself

That pretty much sums it up. I stand in awe (and with a considerable debt of gratitude) of the young women who looked after my children in child care, a role that allowed my partner and I to continue our professional careers in the knowledge that our children were recieving the best care and attention available. The value of child care workers is significantly unervalued by the community, so any improvement in wages or conditions is only to applauded.

#44
facet8:28 am, 28 Feb 10

Can’t your get your CanberraGrandMum to mind them for free, after all it would be better than putting them in an institution.

#45
WalkTheTalk10:32 am, 28 Feb 10

Good to see a child care worker getting involved in the discussion. It’s amazing what you find out when you actually speak to the people directly involved. In this case it’s the child care workers themselves.

Yep, not the children, not the parents but the workers. ‘CCW’ at #40 if your comments are indeed an accurate reflection of the case in general (I’m not doubting they are) then this portable LSL looks like a positive. To you and your colleagues – keep up the good work!

I know child care costs can hurt but let’s keep it in perspective. By and large these children are getting quality care. I never cease to be amazed though by some of the demands made by some parents. People, they’re child care workers not nannies! True many of these workers go above and beyond but this is a courtesy not an right.

‘Canberramum’, kudos for staying in the work force and for using your baby bonus for its intended purpose – your baby. As you mention it’s your last (most recent?) child, haven’t you already experienced having to budget / juggle finances when you had your other child/ren? We all know kids aren’t cheap – important to have that financial “wriggle room” which hopefully returning to the work place has given you?

I’m guessing that ‘proofpositive’ at post #18 is not a parent as any parent knows the costs associated with child birth and associated necessities and knows that in some instances the baby bonus doesn’t entirely cover it. Yes, no doubt some do blow the money but one should never assume. Either that, or ‘pp’ is a parent and was just outraged by your OP.

#46
el7:42 pm, 28 Feb 10

Clown Killer said :

I stand in awe (and with a considerable debt of gratitude) of the young women who looked after my children in child care, a role that allowed my partner and I to continue our professional careers in the knowledge that our children were recieving the best care and attention available. The value of child care workers is significantly unervalued by the community, so any improvement in wages or conditions is only to applauded.

^ This.

Oh, and the figures being thrown around for an hourly rate – I used to get similar money doing dishes in a kitchen, A DECADE AGO.

‘Canberramum’ really needs to get some perspective.

Consider that paying for child care is most likely not even possibly an option for the very people who you are complaining about. Anything that can keep staff in the industry can only be a good thing. Pull your head in (or, perhaps, out).

#47
YapYapYap12:02 am, 01 Mar 10

CanberraMum said :

OK, so I’ve learnt to do even more maths as part of this. Chidlcare workers must either be paid under a modern award or an enterprise agreement…and the enterprise agreement cannot provide less pay than the Award:

For childcare workers (from the award) The starting salary for someone straight into the industry brand-new is $14.66. This is the same as Hairdressers, Cooks, Cleaners, Hospitality workers (I checked all the awards) – it appears to rise pretty quickly, and under the basic level of pay they basically cannot do anything…. For levels of work – and time in the job, it goes up to $17.95….once they have a Diploma the base rate of pay cannot be below $19.25 – and goes right up to $25. As I also understand it, of the at least two staff in each room (or something like that – one must hold a diploma, and be supported by one who is qualified with a certificate…)

This is exactly the same as those other industry’s – so my point is made…..why just single out childcare workers for portable long service leave, they are not lower paid than any other area of general employee….

Tooks, you should tell your friends to check the award – they may be getting screwed…and if they are enterprise bargaining, perhaps they are getting other better entitlements that balance out their lower wages…free childcare for example.

If you think this is all a good as you paint it, quit your $75 an hour job and join in.

What a knob!

#48
YapYapYap12:24 am, 01 Mar 10

CanberraMum said :

So why doesn’t everyone get hit by this portable long service leave, why not the poor underpaid beautician, the cook, the aged care worker, the cleaner, the hairdresser, the baker, not candlestick makers (they are all on about the same hourly wage).

I’d like to make it clear, I don’t have a problem at all with Long Service Leave, I’m hanging for the opportuntity to take mine – but the portable aspect bugs me, it means these girls won’t stay to look after my kids – they have no incentive to….but my fees will go into a fund, that may never actually get paid to the girls….by the way, the centre is not happy, they didn’t even know about it until last week when they got an invited to an information session…and the employees don’t know anything about it either..

Let’s get a few things straight. Your fees should not change – as someone has already noted employers currently have an obligation to make a provision for LSL entitlements.

The way the scheme will work is that the ‘girls’ will get your money. Who the hell do you imagine will?

Cleaners already have portable long service leave, as do construction workers, as do public servants (to move departments/ move governments).

If I’m correct this is part of a scheme the community sector has been pushing the Govt to introduce for some time, and will apply to many low paid workers. As it should.

Providing portable LSL does the opposite of the disencentive you suggest – it provides a clear incentive to stay in the industry – even if your particular ‘girls’ move to nother centres (hopefully for better pay, condition, and more understanding parents).

Your statement that you don’t have a problem with long service leave (and you can’t wait for yours), as long as low paid workers don’t get to trough-down with you is gross hyprocracy.

#49
housebound8:28 am, 01 Mar 10

The way some adults act, it is clearly a much easier job to supervise 5-12 little people (and all their cognitive, social, language, motor skills and even toiletting development) than to supervise the same number of adults. At least small children eventually see reason.

And that, my friend, is the reason childcare workers are paid $40k for a level of responsibility that someone in the public service would be paid much more for.

#50
gimmeth5:43 pm, 03 Mar 10

As a mother of a highly committed and fully qualified child care worker I can attest that the 20 or so dollars and hour is correct, meaning a take home pay of around $1100 per fortnight. Not a whole lot to pay rent, insurances, bills, food, transport etc. And, ironically, not enough to pay for their own child to go into care. And bear in mind that that is as good as it gets – no matter the level of training or the time spent in that job, or the extra professional development they undertake, the only way to increase their earnings is to leave the sector. Portable long service leave seems a small thing to try to maintain these valuable workers.

These people look after our children, our greatest treasures. And this does not just mean having tea parties and doing drawings. A properly accredited centre has programming to a high standard to reflect child development, with numerous policies and procedures to ensure a healthy, hygeinic, safe and developmentally appropriate setting for the children. And on top of that they also have fun with the children and love them, and enjoy them and dance with them, and (sometimes) cry for them.

And these workers cannot just talk on the phone to organise personal matters like many other workers. They cannot make a cuppa whenever they want as the children cannot have hot drinks around them for safety reasons. They cannot leave at the end of their shift unless all the parents have actually turned up on time to collect their offspring. This is a hard job folks, a very hard job. Personally I am grateful to my beautiful daughter as well as to the carers who looked after her on a part time basis when I was a sole parent and uni student, and later her brothers as I completed my degree and then joined the workforce.

What price the safety and wellbeing of our kids? on a per child basis in the pre-school room the top wage is about 1 dollar per child per hour!

#51
WalkTheTalk8:26 pm, 03 Mar 10

Well said ‘gimmeth’. Good point too about childcare workers not being able to make a cuppa (without being covered / away from the kids). I (and plenty others I’m sure) couldn’t operate in a workplace where coffee breaks are potentially dangerous instead of necessary!

On another note though, I worked out one childcare centre if it completely booked all of its full time places would gross at least $32,000 a week! Take from that rent, insurance, wages etc, doesn’t that still leave a fair amount? Surely this could be put into increasing the wages of its childcare workers? Or even then are they hamstrung by the award rates?

Or does running a childcare centre really cost that much?

#52
imarty9:16 pm, 03 Mar 10

I’m not sure how to take your post Housebound.
But as to the OP, as father of a child who has been in daycare for 3 years, I cannot speak highly enough of these wonderful people who take care of my boy.
They are committed, caring, happy, cheerful, clever and responsible and I am quite happy to bear the additional cost to sustain this level of care and education my son receives.
Yes it means we will pay more for childcare but I know what I’d prefer if comes down to paying more for these great people and keeping them in the industry or continually turning over young inexperienced staff.

#53
maikat11:12 pm, 03 Mar 10

We pay $1400 per fortnight for our two boys to go to daycare, we have finally found a wonderful day care facility where the boys thrive and are cared for to a very high standard. The staff are wonderful and honestly I dont believe they get paid enough for the work they do. I know when I drop my boys off there is a sigh of relief as I pat their group leader on the back and thank them for looking after my boys. I go to work in peace and when I pick them up they are happy to see me and tell me all about their brilliant day of watching the chicks grow, gardening, cooking, drawing and general play. SO if the ACT govt want to give these fantastic people a perk that myself and everyone else I know benefit from then well done! I hope that by the government gives them more benefits, in my opinion this occupation should be above those of APS 6′s, El’s and SES’s!!!!!

#54
Clown Killer1:05 am, 04 Mar 10

What imarty said +1

#55
buzz8198:38 am, 04 Mar 10

I’m gonna have to say it, but I believe that the OP is a jerk.

My mum does family day care, that’s looking after kids at home, 4 or 5 a day. She cleans, feeds, teachers, entertains and HELPS THE KIDS SOCIALIZE, you know, getting them ready to go to school and get out in the big ole world. She has done this for 27 years and gets paid the pricely sum of $4.75 per hour, per child, after 27 years? Your saying she doesn’t deserve any extra benefits? Considering in the ACT an Award for these workers has only been present in the last 5-10 years…

These people look after you kids for 50 hours a week, they can’t afford to pay to have their children cared for, they can’t afford to go on luxury holidays or anything like that.

If you think that someone looking after you kids is negative then you need your head read.

WalktheTalk, I think you will find that insurance, safety audits and the fact that it is a business stop’s the real workers from getting much money, I don’t believe that the owners of the businesses would be that well off either, or the ABC Centres around Aus would not have shut down…

#56
vg10:57 am, 04 Mar 10

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the work child care workers do having 2 kids of my own, 4 and under.

That being said if this:

“HELPS THE KIDS SOCIALIZE, you know, getting them ready to go to school “

is your primary reason for sending your kids to child care you are being sucked into one of the greatest myths in history. When I grew up neither I nor any of the kids I grew up with went to child care, we first left our parents side for pre-school. None of us turned out to be serial killers. This whole discussion that child care is sooooooo important as your kids will be behind socially without it is total bollocks. My wife and I made the decision not to put our kids in childcare. Yes the family income is less but we find a way, and money is a secondary concern to us. Both our kids are fine ‘socially. Kids lagging behind socially because they don’t go to childcare is a myth perpetuated by the industry

#57
Jim Jones4:34 pm, 04 Mar 10

vg, I agree with you completely that it’s not necessary to send kids to school for them to be properly ‘socialised’ (hell, even attempting to define what that means opens a can of worms).

But your comment “Kids lagging behind socially because they don’t go to childcare is a myth perpetuated by the industry” left me a bit bemused. I’ve never even heard of the idea that kids can lag socially because they don’t go to childcare. Is it really that prominent?

Everything I’ve read (and heard from other parents) emphasises the importance of strong parental contact and parental bonds for later socialisation, rather than daycare or playgroup stuff.

#58
georgesgenitals1:20 am, 05 Mar 10

imarty said :

I’m not sure how to take your post Housebound.
But as to the OP, as father of a child who has been in daycare for 3 years, I cannot speak highly enough of these wonderful people who take care of my boy.
They are committed, caring, happy, cheerful, clever and responsible and I am quite happy to bear the additional cost to sustain this level of care and education my son receives.
Yes it means we will pay more for childcare but I know what I’d prefer if comes down to paying more for these great people and keeping them in the industry or continually turning over young inexperienced staff.

Well said – I am in the same position. My son’s childcare is expensive, but I don’t really care, because he gets excellent care, and the staff at his centre are fantastic. If retaining the staff who currently look after him during the day costs an extra $50 a fortnight, I’ll happily pay it. I feel for the people who struggle with childcare payments (having come from a less than wealthy background myself), though.

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