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Early Childhood Teachers (ECT) Award Wages in Australia

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When working as a qualified Early Childhood Teacher (with a university degree) within a service, your rate of pay will come from the Educational Service Teachers Award, 2010.  This Award is specifically for Early Childhood Teachers employed as the ECT in their centre. 

The following article will provide you with information on minimum wages, details of the level structure, progression to the next level, director allowance etc. The minimum wage table provided is referenced from the Early Childhood Teacher Award, 2010 and is updated (01/7/2020) as effective on 01 July 2020. 

Recognition of Previous Service

While employed as an ECT, you will be classified and paid according to a Level, based on your qualification and teaching experience. The following will count as recognition of service for early childhood/preschool teachers - which determines your Level for wage purposes: 

  • teaching experience in preschools, kindergartens, multi-purpose centres, early intervention services, long daycare centre and other similar services; 
  • teaching experience of children from four to eight years (or in the infant's department) of a school registered and/or accredited under the relevant authority in each state or territory; 
  • service as a lecturer in early childhood education or child development, as a child development officer or equivalent; and 
  • service as a diploma qualified childcare worker, at the rate of one year for every three years’ service up to a maximum of four years

Evidence of Qualifications

(a) On engagement, the employer may require you yo provide documentary evidence of qualifications and teaching experience.

(b) If your employer considers that you do not provide satisfactory evidence, you should be advised in writing to this effect, then the employer may decline to recognise the relevant qualification or experience until evidence is provided. The employer will not unreasonably refuse to recognise the qualifications or teaching experience which you have gained.

(c) Where you have completed further teaching experience with another employer (for example during unpaid leave) or additional qualifications after commencement of employment, you will be entitled to be classified accordingly and back paid from the date of completion of the experience or qualifications, provided that you have provided satisfactory evidence to your employer within 3 months of completion. In all other cases, you will be classified and paid from the date satisfactory evidence is provided.

Levels 

As per the Educational Services Teachers Award 2010, there are four levels which determine the base rate of pay in which you will receive while working as an ECT in a service, which also includes recognition of prior service. They are: 

  • Two years trained teacher - means any teacher employed in the children’s services and early childhood education industry as at the commencement of this award who has completed a two-year full-time course in early childhood education and who has been recognised as an early childhood teacher by the relevant State or Territory licensing and accreditation authority.
  • Three years trained teacher - means a teacher who has completed a degree in education or early childhood education that requires three years of full-time study at an Australian university or the equivalent as determined by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition, or the relevant State or Territory teacher registration authority, or in the case of early childhood teachers the relevant licensing and accreditation authority.
  • Four years trained teacher - means a teacher who has completed a degree in education or early childhood education that requires four years of full-time study at an Australian university or the equivalent as determined by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition, or the relevant State or Territory teacher registration authority, or in the case of early childhood teachers the relevant licensing and accreditation authority.
  • Five years trained teacher - means a teacher who has completed a degree in education or early childhood education that requires four years of full-time study at an Australian university and in addition has completed a postgraduate degree at an Australian university requiring at least one year of full-time study, or the equivalent as determined by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition, or the relevant State or Territory teacher registration authority, or in the case of early childhood teachers the relevant licensing and accreditation authority

Progression to the Next Level 

Each year you are employed as an ECT at your service, you will progress up the scale until you reach Level 12. Depending on the duration of your university degree, the following shows which level you commence at: 

  • An employee who is three years trained will commence on Level 1 and progress according to normal years of service to Level 12.
  • An employee who is four years trained will commence on Level 3 and progress according to normal years of service to Level 12. 
  • An employee who is five years trained will commence on Level 4 and progress according to normal years of service to Level 12.
  • All other teachers and two years trained teachers will commence on Level 1 and progress according to normal years of service to a maximum of Level 5.

Wages

The ECT wages for full time/part-time and casual ECT's in the following tables have been updated with the 1.75% increase as of 01 July 2020. 

For Full Time and Part Time ECT's

 For Casual ECT's 

Director’s Allowance 

This clause applies only to an early childhood/preschool teacher who is appointed as a Director.

A full-time employee who is appointed as a Director will be paid, in addition to the amounts payable, an annual allowance based on a percentage of the standard rate, and calculated on the basis of the number of places in the centre for which they are responsible where:

  • Level 1 refers to a centre with no more than 39 places;
  • Level 2 refers to a centre with 40–59 places; and
  • Level 3 refers to a centre with 60 or more places.

Note:

  • A part-time employee who is appointed as a Director will be paid, in addition to the amounts payable, an allowance in accordance with the table on a proportionate basis to the hours they work.
  • An employee required by the employer to act as a Director for at least 10 consecutive working days will be paid at the rate applicable to that position for the time they are in the position.

Rostered Days Off

The employer and you may agree that the ordinary hours of work will be worked over 19 days in each 4 week period, in which case the following provisions will apply.

  • You will work 152 hours over 19 days in each 4 week period with one rostered day off on full pay in each period.
  • You will accrue 24 minutes for each 8 hour day worked to give the employee an entitlement to take rostered days off.
  • Each day of paid leave taken by you (but not including long service leave, or any period of stand-down, any public holiday or any period of absence for which workers compensation payments apply occurring during any cycle of 4 weeks) will be regarded as a day worked for the purpose of accruing an entitlement.
  • Rostered days off will not be regarded as part of your annual leave for any purpose.
  • You will not be entitled to personal leave in respect of illness whilst on a rostered day off. In the event of a rostered day off falling on a public holiday, the employer and the employee will agree on a substitute day.
  • You will not be entitled to more than 12 rostered days off in any 12 months of consecutive employment.
  • If you are scheduled to take a rostered day off before having worked a complete 4-week cycle, you will be paid a pro-rata amount for the time that you have accrued.
  • If your employment is terminated in the course of a 4-week cycle, you will be paid a pro-rata amount for the time that you have accrued.

Rostered days off will be determined by mutual agreement between you and the employer, having regards to the needs of the place of employment.

You will be advised by the employer at least 4 weeks in advance of the day on which you will be rostered off duty.

Where a service operates for less than 48 weeks per year and the employee receives more than 4 weeks’ paid leave per year, you will accrue rostered days off to a maximum of 7 days in any 12 months of consecutive employment. Any days accrued in excess of 7 will be subsumed into the period of paid leave.

Breaks 

Meal break 

  • An employer is required to provide a paid meal break of between 20 and 30 consecutive minutes to you when you're engaged or rostered to work for more than 5 hours on a day. Such meal break will start no later than 5 hours after you have commenced work on that day.

     

  • By agreement with the employer, you may leave the premises or elect not to be on call during the meal break. In that case, the mealtime will not count as time worked and nor will payment be made for that time.

     

  • Where you are called back to perform any duties within the centre or the break is interrupted for any reason, you will be paid 150% of the minimum hourly rate for a minimum of 15 minutes and thereafter to the nearest quarter hour until an uninterrupted break, or the balance of the break is taken.

Non-contact time 

  • If you're responsible for programming and planning for a group of children you will be entitled to at least 2 hours’ non-contact time per week for the purpose of planning, preparing, evaluating and programming activities.

     

  • During non-contact time you must not be required to supervise children or perform other duties directed by the employer.

Overtime Rates 

You will be paid overtime for all authorized work performed outside of or in excess of the ordinary or rostered hours at the rate of time and a half for the first three hours and double time thereafter. 

  • An employee will be paid overtime for all authorised work performed outside of or in excess of the ordinary or rostered hours at 150% of the minimum hourly rate for the first 3 hours and 200% of the minimum hourly rate thereafter.

  • Part-time employees who agree to work in excess of their normal hours will be paid at the ordinary time for up to 8 hours provided that the additional time worked is during the ordinary hours of operation of the early childhood service.

  • No part-time employee may work in excess of 8 hours in any day without the payment of overtime.

Time Off Instead Of Overtime Payment

Where you and your employer may agree you will be provided with time off instead of being paid an overtime payment for all authorized work performed outside of or in excess of the ordinary or rostered hours. Overtime taken as time off during ordinary time hours must be taken at the ordinary time rate, that is, an hour for each hour worked.

  • You and your employer may agree in writing in taking time off instead of being paid overtime.
  • Any amount of overtime that has been worked by you in a particular pay period and that is to be taken as time off instead of the employee being paid for it must be the subject of a separate agreement.

An agreement must state each of the following:

  • the number of overtime hours to which it applies and when those hours were worked;
  • that the employer and you agree to take time off instead of being paid for the overtime
  • that, if you request at any time, the employer must pay you, for overtime covered by the agreement but not taken as time off, at the overtime rate applicable to the overtime when worked;
  • that any payment must be made in the next pay period following the request.

The period of time off that an employee is entitled to take is the same as the number of overtime hours worked.

EXAMPLE: By making an agreement an employee who worked 2 overtime hours is entitled to 2 hours’ time off.

Time off must be taken:

  • within the period of 6 months after the overtime is worked; and
  • at a time or times within that period of 6 months agreed by the employee and employer.

If time off for overtime that has been worked is not taken within the period of 6 months, the employer must pay you for the overtime, in the next pay period following those 6 months, at the overtime rate applicable to the overtime when worked.

  • The employer must keep a copy of any agreement as an employee record.
  • An employer must not exert undue influence or undue pressure to you in relation to a decision to make, or not make, an agreement to take time off instead of payment for overtime.

The Educational Service Teachers Award, 2010 is a detailed document that provides information on wage-related matters and covers employees working as an ECT (university-qualified), in an early childhood service or preschool. The information provided within this article is only some of the basic details given in the Award. 

For further information and details on any points above, please read the following reference: 

Educational Services Teachers Award, 2010 (information updated 01 October 2020

Last modified on Friday, October 2, 2020
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