Retirement anxiety for ECEC educators is fuelled by low pay, United Voice says

by Freya Lucas

March 08

An early childhood education and care (ECEC) union, United Voice, have used the occasion of International Women’s Day to draw attention to “the flow on effects of a feminised workforce being denied professional pay” by highlighting issues and concerns in relation to retirement funds and superannuation for women who have worked in the sector for many years.

 

United Voice accused the federal Government of “failing Australia’s educators by continually failing to fund professional pay, causing financial disadvantage and financial insecurity both throughout decades of service and in retirement.”

 

United Voice described the shortfall of pay and superannuation as “a very real and raw issue” for 110,000 educators working in the long day care subset of ECEC, where 96 per cent of the workforce is female.

 

Helen Gibbons, Assistant National Secretary of United Voice, said, “On International Women’s Day 2019, its outrageous that Australia’s qualified educators are earning $22 an hour. It’s outrageous that this government is failing to recognise and fund the professional work of this workforce.

 

“These appalling rates of pay don’t just affect educators during their working life, but in retirement too. We are facing a situation where many educators are being forced to work past retirement age.”

 

Ms Gibbons described educators represented by the union as “angry” saying “they are a professional, skilled workforce. They are being denied by government inaction a liveable, professional wage that supports them throughout their working life and also to be able to save for retirement. Feminised workforces deserve better.”

 

Warning the Government to consider themselves “on notice”, Ms Gibbons said the union intended to press the issue and target politicians who do not support professional pay for early childhood educators ahead of both the New South Wales and Federal elections.  

 

Sharing her experience on behalf of United Voice, Ethna Bulloch, a 55 year old early childhood educator said, “It’s a shame that the government is not listening to the ECEC sector. We are qualified professional educators in a low paid profession. The knock-on effect is that our super isn’t enough to sustain us in retirement and many workers whom are approaching retirement are having to work longer. I’ve been in the sector for 10 years and change is needed for all educators.”

 

Further information about United Voice may be found on their website.

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