More than 6,000 employees covered by the VECTEA will benefit from significant pay increases and workload relief, with 98.5% of those who voted endorsing the new agreement. The new Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement (VECTEA) will now be lodged with the Fair Work Commission for final approval and come into force seven days after that approval is granted. Staff employed at the time the agreement commences will receive backpay to the first full pay period on or after 1 October 2020.
Early childhood members covered by EEEA have received their substantial backpay, as their agreement has already come into effect. The new agreement means access to time for Educational Leaders or Nominated Supervisors; four days of time release for mentors and provisionally registered teachers; increased personal leave for educators from 10 to 15 days; 20 days of family violence leave or relevant amount in the local EBA and time release for union training leave, just to mention a few improved conditions.
The AEU will be running workshops in Term 3 to guide members through the new clauses and their implementation in the workplace. This new agreement demonstrates the professional recognition of early childhood teachers, educators, preschool field officers and activity group leaders that you so rightly deserve.
Win for early childhood sector in federal budget
The AEU has welcomed the federal government’s commitment to four years of funding for preschool for four-year-olds. The government has indicated that this funding will be ongoing, with the new national agreement – to be negotiated with the states and territories – expected to cover four years, from 2022 to 2025.
This is a significant win for the sector. Congratulations to our early childhood members, who have been campaigning on this issue for eight years! This budget announcement is testament to your tenacity, patience and tireless advocacy.
We will be seeking more information about the policy settings attached to this funding, including the introduction of new targets. The government has stated its intentions to improve data collection on the effectiveness of preschool education in supporting school-readiness. This is expected to lead to the development of a system of measuring preschool outcomes from 2025 onwards.
We will also continue to campaign for federal funding for three-year-old kindergarten. There is clear evidence that children who access two years of high-quality kindergarten delivered by a qualified teacher start school ready to learn and have a stronger foundation for their future beyond school. Currently, Australia lags well behind the OECD average when it comes to enrolments in three-year-old preschool. Subsidised preschool is an important step towards quality, universally accessible early learning for all children.