Consultation on the Pay Parity Funding Review
Summary of New Zealand Home-Base Childcare Association (NZHBCA) position
Our Mission Statement:
The New Zealand Home-Base Childcare Association supports the provision of professional care and education for children in home-based settings and represents member’s interests through advocacy on relevant social, educational and political issues.
- There are significant flaws within the current outdated, inadequate and unequitable funding model for ECE in New Zealand; a funding model that disadvantages the home-based sector. There is a need for a complete review of the model to enable it to meet the needs of all ECE service types and to acknowledge the important leadership role of Certificated and Qualified Teachers in home-based.
- Creating an appropriate Pay Parity funding model that supports all children to thrive, including under two’s, is paramount to developing a strong ECE system that supports the key findings and recommendations of the 1000 days research.
- Home-based childcare is the first choice of many families in Aotearoa, we strongly urge the Ministry to commit to securing and supporting our part in this diverse sector and support us to develop a strong home-based provision where quality Early Learning can not only survive, but flourish.
- This is only possible if home-based leaders pay, and conditions are considered as important as those leaders in Centre environments.
No modelling and no commitment of increased funding rates
The consultation documents however provide a confusing explanation of an already complex funding system for certificated teachers. There are too many variables and no financial modelling to assess the overall impact on services. To date there has been no effort to address the year-on-year shortfalls of funding for home-based nor any recognition of the disparity of funding between Home-based and Centre Based ECE. There is also no commitment review other parts of the complex system which continues to miss the mark for families and providers alike.
Social value of Home-Based ECE
High quality home-based ECE services have profoundly positive impacts during the most important early years of children’s development and learning. Access to high quality ECE services play a part in reducing social inequities. High quality, accessible ECE settings, particularly those that empower and enhance women’s opportunities for employment, improve gender equity and reduce social risk and family poverty. This includes work settings in the home. The concepts of parental choice, affordability and barrier free access must be crucial considerations. The ECE Funding Model is fundamentally inequitable, flawed and outdated. It is based on a rationing ‘widget’ system that preferences the centre service type and does not reflect the contemporary environments in which we are delivering public good or public value.
Tweaking the dials not fixing the system
The commitment and investment from the Government in the Early Learning Action Plan (ELAP) 2019-2029 was welcomed. We saw the Action Plan as a mechanism to deliver a coherent, equitable, diverse and sustainable approach to quality ECE provision. Other significant complementary work programmes have evolved across the sector – in particular, Pay Parity, Pay Equity, and Fair Pay Agreements. More recently the introduction of the National Education and Learning Priorities and the Ministry’s focus on eliminating barriers to access to Early Learning for whanau.
In reality however we are also seeing and experiencing a focus on regulation and compliance, significant and long-standing issues with recruitment, increased expectations regarding qualifications of our home-based Educator networks, as well as the increased costs to maintenance of safe and appropriate environments. We believe all of these costs need to be factored into a contemporary funding model, not simply bolted on to the old one.
As a sector representative organisation supporting Home-Based Providers and Educators, we would like to implore the Ministry to consider a more contemporary and equitable funding model that supports Pay Parity for all ECE teachers.
In direct response to the consultation documents the New Zealand Home-Base Childcare Association is responding to Element 2 and Home-Based.
Calculating management funding for the TSS
- Funding towards the cost of management positions is welcomed and it demonstrates the value we place on the leadership of our most precious taonga. We know that there is a correlation between quality leadership and positive outcomes for tamariki.
- Smaller services (and home-based) are at a disadvantage with 1:50 ratio receiving only a smaller proportion of the funding if under 50 as there is always a need for a full time Centre Manager (Visiting Teacher). This is irrespective of the number of children enrolled. Under the proposed salary of K2 for Centre Managers providers would have to pay the full-time Centre Manager salary.
- This goes someway to supporting the career pathway of teachers into leadership and management positions but not far enough and requires careful consideration of the unintended consequences.
- This option needs to consider within the Home-Based Coordinator/Visiting Teacher role. We propose that leadership and management roles are considered, and decision are seen to include all service types not segregate.
- Providers who jointly run multiple service types also have managers across multiple Home-Based Networks and multiple Centre’s. Therefore, Management is not clear cut as this element proposal would assume.
NZHBCA would choose option 2 and advocate that it should apply to all service types and be administered across the range of license sizes.
- The inclusion of Home-Based Coordinators/Visiting Teachers as part of the pay parity model is essential to ensure equity within the sector and ensure the provision of choice for families.
- NZHBCA would like to see Step 11 inclusive of an availability allowance for On-call and implement rules regarding Person Responsible in home-based in conjunction with any decisions about the home-based TSS. NZHBCA believes that On Call and Person Responsible requirements are an important element of a quality home-based landscape and must not be withdrawn. Quality providers have been working towards improving the quality of home-based delivery and this includes every network having a full time 40-hour Coordinators/Visiting Teacher, irrespective of the number of tamariki attending. This must be fully funded as a full time 40 hours Permanent Coordinator/Visiting Teacher to continue this drive towards high-quality Home-Based provision.
At what pay step should coordinators be paid?
NZHBCA would like to see Step 11 or introduce K1, but this must be fully funded as a full time 40 hours Permanent Coordinator/Visiting Teacher; it must be acknowledged that there are no other income sources for providers to support any shortfall in the salary/management cost.
How should on-call hours be treated?
On-Call is a current requirement of the Quality Coordinator/Visiting Teacher role and part of the salary includes an availability allowance as per a number of collective agreements already in place across the home-based sector. It is important that on call remains for the hours that children are in care to ensure a continuation of high-quality provision.
Which proposed approach to home-based pay parity do you prefer and why?
NZHBCA would advocate the Ministry fully pay the salary of a full time Coordinator/Visiting Teacher and not pay a subsidy based on FCH.
However, if FCH is the only way to calculate then NZHBCA would support Option B – to increase ECE subsidy rates to account for the Coordinator/Visiting Teacher salary costs. This will enable providers to allocate funding as they do now.
What should the ratio for generating coordinator FTE entitlement be in Option A?
NZHBCA would like the whole cost of either step 11 or K1 as the entitlement, there should be no ratio as we continue to work towards high quality provision, we advocate for 40 hour fully funded positions.
However, we note:
An unintended consequence and risk of only using FCH to pay the % of Coordinator/Visiting Teacher salary is the enormous fluctuations of funding that this will cause all home-based providers, risking their viability over time.
An alternative is to support providers to manage costs and better control variations to funding by implementing a banded range. For example, those over 40 FTE (6 hours a day) receive full salary funding, those between 30 – 39 = ¾ of the funding, those with 20 – 29 = ½ FTE, etc. This will enable providers to manage growth and enrolments and receive a known and more manageable quantity of funding.
It is also proposed in this consultation that funding for Coordinators/Visiting Teachers and operational costs for home-based networks be funded based on a percentage of booked child hours. However, this assumption has three flaws that could affect the funding for the Coordinator/Visiting Teacher Salary if only FCH is used.
- The Coordinator/Visiting Teacher role is not to educate or work directly with children. Their role is lead, support and mentor Home-Based Educators to work with children. Their volume of work is based predominantly on the number of educators and not just the number of children enrolled.
- Each child is assumed to attend at least 30 hours with all 30 hours being attested and funded. This is often not be the case for many families.
- An unintended consequence of these issues is that providers are forced into trying to maximize funding and preferencing those enrolments over 30 hours. Creating another barrier to attendance for many families who desire a more flexible enrolment.
Should coordinator FTE entitlement include managers of coordinators? The default Ministry choice is:
‘Manager of coordinators’ positions are at the discretion of the service, rather than driven off regulations.
Yes, Managers of Coordinator/Visiting Teacher must be included in the overall license number a manager is responsible. However, it must be noted that many providers have a mixed portfolio of Centre’s and Home-Based Networks. A joint portfolio allows us to align continuity of education across the services providing richness and quality.
A way to overcome this is to consider overall license numbers a manager is responsible for not separating just center’s or just Home-Based. We believe that the Ministry of Education have missed this important operational nuance.
NZHBCA has had a long history of working closely with the Ministry to provide feedback and support. Nonetheless the Pay Parity model that has been presented is lacking any accurate modelling using accurate data, it has the propensity to have major swings in funding across ages groups and service types and has made an already broken and old system more complex and difficult. But most importantly it does not deliver on pay parity effectively nor equitably.
The funding model the ECE sector needs is a new and forward-thinking provision that enables modern families and tamariki to access quality ECE. Home Based and Centre’s that serve neurodiversity, disadvantaged communities, as well as the U2 provision are the most vulnerable under this proposal. All of these groups form a significant part of the ECE landscape and are predominantly our priority learners as identified in the NELPs. Pay parity should not be at the cost of our most vulnerable. We believe for this reason that we cannot support the proposed model as a whole.
NZHBCA is committed to working with the MOE. NZHBCA together with our ECE Sector colleagues, are willing and committed to working with the Government on delivering a full review of the all the funding models, settings, including additional funding to support all ECE service types to prevail and support families and present a robust and equitable funding model that meets the needs of the Government and the sector. Our time is best spent doing this together, rather than continuing a public campaign to have our voices heard.