Childcare operators say pay rises will hurt
A SUNSHINE Coast childcare operator has called on Kevin Rudd to overturn the $300 million boost to the industry's workers because not everyone will receive the pay rise.
The Early Years Quality Fund Special Account Act will lift educators' wages by $3 to $5 per hour over two years, but will only provide a wage increase to 40% of the long daycare workforce.
Dalton Drive Early Learning owner Brendan Mason said it would hurt the industry overall.
"This is something Rudd should overturn, him or the Coalition if they get into power," Mr Mason said.
"They need to look because it will impact on childcare fees right across Australia."
He said while he supported childcare educators getting a pay rise and that the idea was sound, everyone should be covered for a wage rise.
"The centres and employees that don't get the raise rise will then go to the service provider and say 'My peers down the road just got a pay rise, why aren't I?'"
"The pressure will be on service providers to give that pay rise. You either say no to the employee which will put them in detrimental situation.
"They will leave and recruiting will be difficult or they will pay and pass on cost to families."
Kids Plus Coolum owner David Leslie said he tried to keep fee increases as modest as possible but in a way that would support the centre's management.
"I think the real crunch test will come in few years as pressure put on industry to meet requirements of wage increase," he said.
"It will cause more problems for operators and consequently parents."
Mr Leslie said the demand for childcare services was still there but at some point parents would weigh up their options.
"I don't know what that price point is for certain parents, but if wage issue isn't resolved on a government level you will find demand may drop off because it's just as cost effective to stay at home and look after kids."
Parents hit hard
At the centre I take my kids too - fees just went up $5 a day per child. Starting to become unaffordable to work or study. Cherie Montague
I'm paying private school fees for a four- year-old. Sara Dillon
Working full-time you lose so much to childcare, it's barely worth it. Ian Hart