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Key changes and updates to the National Regulations and Law are now in full swing. These include supporting Family Day Care to achieve better compliance and quality across the whole sector and an introduction of a national educator to child ratio of 1:15 for services providing education and care to school age children.

When working while pregnant, both parents are entitled to maternity and parental leave and this applies to all employees in Australia. It can be taken when you give birth, spouse/defacto partner gives birth or adopting a child under 16 years of age. 

Today (Thursday 7th September), it is estimated that 3000 to 4000 Early Childhood Educators throughout Australia walked off the job at 3:20 pm to protest over pay conditions, calling for an increase of 35 per cent.  It is the largest early education walk - off in Australia's history. 

On Thursday, 7th September at 3:20pm Educators around Australia will walk off the job to demand higher wages. 

Congratulations! You're pregnant! Until the little one arrives, some of you will choose to continue working and since you are pregnant there is a range of entitlements available to you. 

Sick Leave

Even though you are pregnant, you still get your ordinary sick leave entitlements. 

Pregnancy is not considered an illness or injury, however, if you experience a pregnancy-related illness or injury, sick leave can be taken.

Special Maternity Leave

If you are eligible for unpaid parental leave, you can take unpaid special maternity leave if:

  • you have a pregnancy-related illness or
  • your pregnancy ends after 12 weeks because of a miscarriage, termination or stillbirth.

If you take Special Maternity Leave because of a pregnancy-related illness, the leave will end when the pregnancy or illness ends, whichever is earlier. If you are taking leave due to a miscarriage, termination or still birth it can continue until you're fit for work.

Special maternity leave won’t reduce the amount of unpaid parental leave that you can take.

Notice and Medical Certificates

You will need to tell your employer as soon as possible (which can be after the leave has started) that you're taking special maternity leave. You will also need to inform them on how long you expect to be on leave.

Your employer can ask for evidence and can request a medical certificate.

Safe Jobs

Since you are pregnant, even as a casual, you are entitled to move to a safe job if it isn’t safe for you to do your usual job because of your pregnancy. Even if you aren’t eligible for unpaid parental leave.

When moving to a safe job, you will still get the same pay rate, hours of work and other entitlements that you got in your usual job. You and your employer can agree on different working hours. You will stay until it's safe to go back to her normal job, or until you give birth.

You will need to give your employer evidence that:

  • you can work but can’t do your normal job (including why your normal job isn't safe) and
  • how long you shouldn't work in your normal job.

Your employer can ask for this to be a medical certificate.

Note: 

CMV is a virus that can be contracted in a childcare centre and can be fatal while your pregnant.  It is usually transmitted through blood, urine, faeces and saliva. To protect you and your unborn baby you will probably need to minimise your exposure to changing nappies, toilet training, cleaning up body fluids etc. Even if you do have excellent hygiene practices you still are at risk of contacting it. 

When No Safe Job Is Available

If there is no safe job available then you can take no safe job leave. If you're entitled to unpaid parental leave, no safe job leave is paid.

When working as a full-time or part-time employee, no safe job leave is paid at the base rate of pay for ordinary hours of work.

For a casual, no safe job leave is paid at the base rate of pay (not including the casual loading) for the average number of hours you would have worked in the period you're on leave.

If you aren't entitled to unpaid parental leave can take unpaid no safe job leave.

Being Directed To Take Parental Leave

When pregnant and you want to work in the 6 weeks before your due date, your employer can ask for a medical certificate within 7 days that states:

  • you can continue to work
  • it’s safe for you to do your normal job.

If the certificate says that you're fit for work but it isn’t safe for you to continue in your normal job, then you will be entitled to a safe job or no safe job leave.

If you don’t provide a medical certificate or the certificate says you can’t continue work at all then your employer can direct you to start unpaid parental leave.

Your unpaid parental leave starts when you are directed to take unpaid parental leave and will count as part of your total unpaid parental leave entitlement.

If you have planned to take parental leave at a later date after the birth, the period of directed leave doesn’t have to be taken in a continuous period of the other parental leave.

For more information: Paid and Unpaid Maternity Leave Entitlements

Protection from Discrimination

You can’t be discriminated against because you're pregnant. This means that you can’t be fired, demoted or treated differently to other employees because you're pregnant. Here is an example of a woman being discriminated against becasue she is preganant. 

Melissa is a full-time employee and works in a clothing store. She tells her boss Peter that she is pregnant. 

A few weeks later her hours are reduced and she is told that she is now a part-time employee. When Melissa asks Peter about this he tells he is reducing her hours to help her with her pregnancy and that in his family the women always reduce their hours when they are pregnant. 

Even though Peter thinks he is helping Melissa this is still discrimination. He is treating her differently to his other employees because she is pregnant. 

Each state and territory has a local anti-discrimination body, which regulates and investigates breaches of state and territory anti-discrimination laws.  You will be able to find the contact details on Fair Work Australia. 

I hope this article provides you with useful information about your entitlements when working whilst pregnant. Take care of you and your little one and enjoy the journey into motherhood!

Reference: 

Fair Work Ombudsman - Pregnant Employee Entitlements

With Winter just around the corner, it's important to take precautions to stay healthy during the cold season. It's easy for some of us to fall sick with viral infections especially when it's so easy to catch amongst the children at work. Here are some strategies on how to overcome the winter season, while working. 

This morning, Senator Leyonhjelm went on Sunrise to face the backlash he had received over the comments he made during the interview on The Project. 

Sunrise presenter Mon told Mr Leyonhjelm that he caused backlash overnight because he had described childcare workers as "wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other" and whether he stands by that view. 

Senator Leyonhjelm responds by saying "that wasn't what I said, what I said was you don't need a certificate 3, 18 months of study, to be a childcare worker,to learn how to wipe children's noses and stop them from killing each other. The point is childcare is too  expensive, we all know it's too expensive, why is it too expensive, because we're requiring childcare workers to get certificates to do things that they all ready knew how to do. That was the point I was making". 

Kochie comments "that it is a poor way of expressing it. We understand the point the childcare costs are going up because of over regulation but to slam childcare workers like that is demeaning... you got to be embarrassed" 

Mr Leyonhjelm responds "slam them, I didn't slam them, I've been verbaled, I said you don't need a certificate to do those things".

Mon comments "that childcare workers do so much more than that and the last time he went into a childcare centre and see what they have done and that it's such a tiny part of what they do, in their given day"

"Yes, but costs are going up, it's becoming unaffordable and the government is proposing to spend another $3 billion of borrowed money to subsidise childcare what's the cause of it, too much regulation" Mr Leyonhjelm explains. 

In defence of David, Pauline Hanson comments "I've been a mother of 4 children, I didn't need a certificate or a qualification to raise my children as many other woman out there, mothers who are rearing their children and it does need to be investigated David is right, the rising costs, we cant afford it, nearly $4 billion a year for childcare and that's what we the tax payers and paying out. It needs an investigation" 

This all began on Tuesday night on The Project, when Federal Senator David Leyonjelm described childcare workers responsibilities as "wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other"

Some of the suggestions he made in order to reduce the cost of childcare, was to cut back the required credentials of childcare workers, adding that woman didn't need training to take care of children. 

“Apart from the fact you want to make sure there aren’t any paedophiles involved, you have to have credentials these days to be a childcare worker,” Senator Leyonhjelm said.

Senator Leyonhnelm said "a lot of woman just quit" because of the requirements of the National Quality Framework. 

And then they brought in this national quality framework and they had to go and get a ‘certificate three’ in childcare in order to continue the job they were doing – you know, wiping noses and stopping the kids from killing each other.”

"The ones who got certificate threes said, ‘  OK , I want more pay now that I’m more qualified’. All we did was drive up the cost because of this credentialism."

Senator Leyonhjelm maintained that workers did not need the credentials, saying there were no improvements in standards when the minimum standard of training was introduced..

"I don't think we corrected any errors, any errors, any problems, any deficiencies adversely affecting the kids when we brought in that national quality framework."

Following the interview there have been thousands of comments and reactions from educators throughout Australia angered over the way the Senator has described the role of educators and how demeaning and disrespectful he was towards Early Childhood Education and Care.  

As educators we stand together as a united front, with our heads held high, knowing that what we do makes a big difference in a child's life!

References

James, Weir Senator "David Leyonhjelm’s childcare comments leave viewers gobsmacked", The Daily Telegraph (2017). 
Sunrise, "David Leyonhjelms Responds To Backlash", (2017)

Although there may be positions available, getting a job in the early childhood industry is competitive because there are always a lot of educators looking for work at any time of year. Students finishing their qualification or educators moving on from their previous jobs… Throughout the year, there will always be a number of educators looking to work in this industry. What can you do to stand out...You need an impressive resume! 

What Is A Resume?

A resume is a document of your relevant, skills, experiences and education that should target the specific position you are applying for. 

The aim of your resume is to interest the employer at the centre, in what you have got to offer, so you are offered an interview. 

Writing A Resume 

When applying for a job within a childcare centre, the director or management takes an average of 5-10 seconds to look through your resume. Within that limited time, they will decide whether or not to call you for an interview. 

It's so important to make your resume stand out and to make sure you interest the employer. 

So let's look at what you need to include on your resume: 

  • Contact Details - You only need to include what's relevant. Such as name, address, telephone numbers etc. You do not need to include your date of birth, your family details, religious background, marital status etc. Make sure that you have a professional email address. It's also advisable to add your LinkedIn profile URL. 
  • Career Objective -  Write your career objective back to the job you have applied for with an overview of your key achievements. It should tell the employer what position you are applying for, the level of responsibility you want and where you see yourself in the future. 
  • Employment History - When listing your previous employment history, start from the most recent. Include, company/centre, location, position held, key skills/job responsibilities. Add years rather than months of when you started and finished. e.g. "2015-2016". 
  • Work Experience - For students who don’t have employment history to add in their resume, you could add your practical placement or voluntary positions you had held. Add the name of the centre/company where you did your placement, how long you were there for placement (e.g. 35 days) and  highlight your responsibilities and your duties during your work placement. You could also include a brief summary of what you were required to do, what you did and how you did it, the results of your actions and what you learnt. 
  • Education and Qualifications - Start with the most recent and list the qualifications you have obtained, year it was completed and the institution where you had studied. You could also include short training courses, workshops, forms of accreditation etc. 
  • Referees - Include details of a minimum of two referees (former employers, supervisors from work placement, mentor etc.). Referees are used by future employers to speak about your skills, work role, personal attributes etc. Make sure you keep your referees informed so they are prepared. You don't need to include your referees on your resume you could just add "Contact Details Available On Request" and once you have an interview you could provide the employer the details at that time. 

Aim to highlight your strengths, skills, experiences and achievements and only include information that reflects you positively. Your resume should show your employer that you have what they are looking for. 

How Your Resume Should Look 

Your resume should be easy for an employer to read quickly.  The length of your resume should be 3-4 pages long . You don't need to include all your work and life history. Make sure it is relevant to the position you are applying for. 

Here are some tips when writing up your resume. 

  • There are plenty of templates online that will enable you to fill in to create your resume.  These are fine for you to use but make sure that the layout is professional. 
  • Include page numbers. 
  • Always check for spelling mistakes and ask someone to read over it for you.
  • Adding a photo to your resume is up to you however think about how your photo may be perceived e.g. you could be inaccurately perceived as too young/too old/inexperienced/serious etc. Instead add it to another copy of resume to give to the employer after your interview so they remember who you are. 
  • If you don't have much experience working in child care, focus on what you have done rather than what you haven't. Highlight the specific, skills gained from your experiences. 
  • If you have had similar positions, list each position than do a summary of skills under this, rather than repeating similar duties and responsibilities.

Key Selection Criteria In A Resume 

Employers will include the Key Selection Criteria which will need to be addressed and met when applying for a job position.  

When responding to the selection criteria you will need to detail your specific capabilities for each criteria. It’s important to include specific examples or situations when you have demonstrated the behaviour, knowledge, skills and qualities asked for in the Key Selection Criteria. 

Focus on outcomes that you have achieved and match these to the selection criteria. Use examples that show you have applied specific criteria to your work or life experiences.

For more details and responding to key selection criteria, read the following article: 

Key Selection Criteria When Applying For A Job 

Writing A Cover Letter

A cover letter should always be included when submitting your resume (unless it specifically says not to include one).  It should include: 

For An Advertised Job

  • Your name and contact details (home number, mobile number), and your professional email address. 
  • The job you are applying for (e.g. "RE: Application for Diploma Qualified educator position). 
  • List of your relevant skills and experiences (a short bullet list is fine).  If the job you're applying for mentions "key selection criteria" you need to respond to all these items but remember to keep it short. 
  • Once you have listed your skills and experiences you need to explain why this means your suited to the job.  

Your cover letter should encourage the employer to want to read your resume so at the end of the cover you could end it like this "I have attached a copy of my resume for your consideration. I look forwards to hearing from you about this application" .

For No Job Advertised

  • Mention you’re interested in their centre and working for them. 
  • Get to know a little about their centre/company and how your skills and experiences fit into their goals (find their website and go through the information). 
  • Let them know what you are hoping to get out of contacting them e.g. if there are currently positions available.  
  • You could end the cover letter by saying that you will contact them in a couple of weeks to follow up, however you are delighted to talk to them if they contact you before then. 

When you have submitted your resume and cover letter, if you haven't heard back in a couple of weeks, you may contact them and ask them if they had received your application and their response. You may contact them through email by its best to call directly and speak to the directly. 

With this guide, it will give you the confidence to write a resume so go on and apply for that position! 

Good Luck! 


References
:

  • Writing A Resume - Future Education, Melbourne Australia, 2012
  • Resume Writing - Education, Careers QLD, 2013
  • Writing A Cover Letter, Youth Central Victoria

With the Christmas holidays just around the corner early childhood services will be shutting down for a period of time and many of you will be on annual leave. Do you know how much annual leave you receive, how much annual leave you accumulate? The following article will provide you with details on your annual leave entitlements according to the Children’s Services Award 2010. 

Sometimes you know that it’s time to move on from your current centre. You may have found another centre to work with, your circumstances may have changed or you found another position. Whatever it is, when it’s time to resign and leave your current centre there are formalities that you need to address before you can leave.

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