'What other industry is being forced to take a 50% pay cut?"
THE government's announcement of free childcare might seem like a win for working parents, but it comes at a cost to educators.
Touted as providing 'hip pocket relief' to families during the Coronavirus pandemic, Clarence Family Day Care manager Cristie Harris said early childhood educators and operators will be financially crippled under the new scheme.
"The public have been hoodwinked by it because it's not free at all," she said.
Starting from today, approximately 50% of child care fees will be paid for by the government based on the attendance figures that each service had in the last two weeks of February. The remaining 50% of fees will be waived for parents. Any child enrolled after the 1 March, the Government will not pay the 50% of fees for. The government have indicated that they will create a process in which services can apply for special consideration, yet this is still be developed.
"In other words, Family Day Care educators are footing the bill for that remaining gap," Ms Harris said.
"What other industry is being forced to remain open and be told to take a 50% pay cut?"
Ms Harris said the one-size-fits-all scheme failed to realise the complexity of the industry.
"Our educators are sole traders so they're contracted to us and the impact this will have on them has clearly been overlooked," she said.
"And as a sole trader, you have your own expenses to pay like tax, superannuation, bills and so forth before you even take the pay packet home, so to have your income cut in half just shows how little they've considered those who work in this industry."
Despite being considered an essential service, Ms Harris said it was disappointing that the early childhood education and care sector had yet to be adequately supported by the government.
"There has been zero consideration for our own health and safety, let alone even providing a bottle of hand sanitiser," she said.
"Our educators are in a position where they simply cannot self-isolate if they want to because they're expected to provide this essential service. And now to have a 50% pay cut is just insulting. No other sector has been told that they are essential workers and are to remain working, only to having the Government tell them that their income will be at least cut in half."