Play fair in childcare

Teachers in long day care have been neglected for too long by employers, with pay and conditions in many services well below those of other educators. The AEU is campaigning for a fair deal for teachers in the sector. We know that pay and conditions deter many student teachers from choosing to work in early childhood over primary.

Why we are campaigning

Teachers in long day care services need exactly the same training and qualifications as other early childhood teachers — yet many are paid only award rates compared to teachers in council and community services who are paid under the agreements won by the AEU.

Awards set out only minimum entitlements for a sector; agreements are negotiated by unions on behalf of members and over the years have won for the early childhood sector many of the pay and benefits enjoyed by school teachers.

We receive many phone calls and emails from members in long day care, working long hours with few benefits and low pay. All teachers deserve the same pay and conditions. It's time to seek recognition for teachers in long day care.


Play fair in childcare - A resource booklet for teachers working in childcare settings. Click here to download a copy.

Childcare centres that offer VECTAA

Over 70 childcare centres employ their teachers under VECTAA pay and conditions. These centres are formally respondent to VECTAA – this means that by law they must employ their teacher under the full set of terms and conditions. Find the list here.

Summary findings of our Teachers in Childcare Survey

Most respondents were employed under the Educational Services (Teachers) Award, or a contract of employment.  Only a few teachers were employed under VECTAA.

The average rate of pay is $27.49 – this is comparable to the wage of a first year teacher under VECTAA, despite many of these teachers having numerous years of teaching experience.

Most respondents received 4 weeks annual leave, 10 days sick leave, and no paid maternity leave. Teachers in childcare have minimal planning time — 2–7 hours per week — and limited time to attend professional development; most PD is completed during unpaid time.

On the whole, these teachers feel disillusioned about working in childcare.  Whilst they enjoy their work with children, families and colleagues, the poor working conditions are leaving many to question their future in this part of the sector.  Many are eager to leave and move to stand-alone kindergarten or primary school settings. 

Key differences between the award and our agreements

The differences between award entitlements and our agreements are startling. Here are some of the key differences:

Starting salary (four-year qualified teacher)
Agreements: $55,459
Award: $40,201

Top of the scale salary
Agreements: $81,806 (in May 2012)
Award: $53,493
Annual leave
Agreements: 11.4 weeks per year (same as school holidays)
Award: Four weeks per year
Preparation and planning time
Agreements: 12.5 hours per week
Award: Two hours per week
Personal leave
Agreements: 15 days per year
Award: 10 days per year
Paid maternity leave
Agreements: 32 weeks (14 weeks full pay plus 18 weeks federal parental leave at minimum wage)
Awards: 18 weeks minimum wage only


What can you do?

Here are ways you can help the campaign:

  1. Join the AEU — together we can win a better deal. Talk to your colleagues about joining too.
  2. Check your conditions — we can help you negotiate a better deal. Speak to an officer in our membership services unit on 9417 2822.

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