Sunday, 21 April 2024
    Childcare sector at risk

    Childcare sector at risk

    The childcare sector is at risk of experiencing the same fate as aged care and its exodus of underpaid and burnt-out staff unless the federal government funds a wage increase, one of the aged care royal commissioners says, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

    Lynelle Briggs – one of three former commissioners in the landmark inquiry, and now a board member of Goodstart early learning centres – said there were several similarities in the staffing issues confronting both sectors, and childcare centres are turning away children because of a lack of workers.

    In aged care, there are 60,000 job vacancies nationally, and the federal government has warned childcare workforce shortages would worsen from a record shortfall of 6600 staff nationally in May – more than double what they were four years before. The topic will be raised at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s jobs summit in September.

    Briggs said aged care and early-learning workers were victims of a discriminatory system that devalued the care economy and mirrored calls from aged care providers that any increase in pay for early educators should be funded by the government, declaring the 2020s “the decade of women’s work”.

    “The country has to confront the inadequacy of wages in areas that are typically areas of women’s work,” Briggs said, describing the case for equal pay occurring in a de facto manner in aged care through the Fair Work Commission’s wage case as “pay justice”.

    “Early learning and aged care are growth areas within the economy, as are disability services, but they’re underpaid, and they’re seriously under-supported in terms of development and training.”


    Fix low wages for ‘women’s work’ before childcare sector falls over: Aged care commissioner (Sydney Morning Herald)


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