BEK Bentley survives on $20.63 per hour as a qualified childcare worker but says it is not all bad as childcare workers are in it for the love.
The childcare workers’ union, the United Voice, is calling for a taxpayer-funded pay rise of $10 per hour on top of the $300 million wage increase just granted by the federal government.
Until the wage increase just granted Ms Bentley was earning $19.07 per hour to educate, report on, clean and care for children up to five years.
Ms Bentley and her partner want to start a family but she said she would have to hold off because she simply could not afford it in the near future.
She said it was not fair teachers were paid highly and get 12 weeks holiday when, in many cases, childcare workers were just as dedicated and educated as their schoolteacher counterparts.
“We work just as hard,” she said.
Ms Bentley said it was a common misconception that childcare workers were similar to babysitters.
Childcare workers compile reports on individual children so they can better plan learning programs. They also identify learning difficulties and work with parents to manage children’s needs.
Ms Bentley said a pay increase of $10 per hour would mean childcare workers would stay in the profession longer, it would become more competitive and more spaces would open up for children because there would be more educators. But she did not want the cost passed on to parents.
“There is already too much pressure on parents as it is,” she said.
The United Voice wants taxpayers to pick up the $1.4 billion a year tab, claiming the only other option is to double the fees charged to parents.