Members covered by the Early Education Employees Agreement (EEEA) have voted in unprecedented numbers to endorse the new deal, which delivers substantial pay rises and a wide range of improved working conditions for early childhood teachers and educators. Of the high voter turnout, 99% voted in favour, meaning members in all 22 local government authorities (LGAs) covered by the EEEA will benefit from new clauses, including those designed to help alleviate workload.
The Agreement will now be lodged with the Fair Work Commission and come into force seven days after its approval. Wage rises for members employed at the time of approval will be back-dated to the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2020.
At the time of writing, the ballot process was expected to commence shortly for the other major agreement in the sector, the Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement (VECTEA), which features equivalent improvements to wages and conditions as those in the EEEA.
Going in to negotiations, we wanted a deal that addressed the key issues of salaries and workload pressures. After almost two years of intense discussions with employer groups, we won early childhood agreements that for the first time achieve pay parity between kindergarten and school teachers at every level over the life of the agreement.
Successful lobbying by AEU members then saw the Andrews government commit to a funding package that supports the new deals. These new four-year agreements will cover more than 900 kindergartens, many long daycare centres and 22 LGAs.
Congratulations to everyone who has played a part in achieving these new agreements, which reflect the professional recognition of early childhood teachers, educators, preschool field officers and activity group leaders. Together, we have won teacher pay increases of 13–30% over four years and increases of 20–27% for educator and Activity Group Leaders. Level 1.5 educators will have immediate pay parity with range 1.5 education support staff in schools.
A host of other improvements, including enhanced leave entitlements and more time for preparation and planning, are also provided (see page 10 for further details). In addition, the hard barrier of teacher validation will be removed in February 2022 and replaced by a simpler process.
Agreement implementation training for early childhood members will commence in early Term 2. We will also provide an implementation guide. These offer invaluable information to members, allowing you to fully understand your entitlements. When you know your workplace rights, you are in a better position to ensure that every aspect of your work covered by the agreements is being implemented and adhered to by employers.