What to expect after the Australian Childcare Centre Strike
On 7 September 2017 Australia experienced a landmark strike of approximately 800,000 educators across the country who stopped work after 3:20pm. This left 700,000 children without care for the afternoon and parents needing to make alternative arrangements. The mass protest was held to bring attention to the $21/hour wage educators are currently paid, which they believe is a major (if not sole) contributing factor to the attrition experienced by child care centres. It has been reported that approx 180 educators leave the child care industry every week because they are unable make end meet financially.
Who will pay for the next wage increase?
The increase in pay was squarely aimed at the Federal Government’s Fair Work Commision who have been served with a submission to increase educator pay by 35%. The industry workers are not asking for the Childcare Centres to pay for this increase (centres have already been slugged with a 3.3% wage increase already this year), and they are also not asking for parents to pick up the tab either. Educators have made the submission for the Federal Government to cover the wage increase for every childcare centre worker in Australia.
Increasing demand for childcare
With well over 1.5million Australian two-parent families, most of which have both parents working, it’s no wonder the industry is experiencing difficulty in keeping up with demand. Parents are actively seeking those centres which are well-run, have a good reputation and have stable staff. Waiting lists in those centres can be over 12 months and the industry feedback is finding that parents will move their children to those centres where they experience continuity of care for their child/children.
“Value-adds” is the new mantra
Now that we have had a time to reflect on the Australian-wide strike, the Sword of Damocles is almost certainly felt dangling over many Childcare Centre Owners. On one hand, if Childcare Owners continue to service their staff at the current wage standards, they may still go on strike again. If Childcare Centre Owners create the best centre in the district with parents lining up to get in, educators may feel over-worked and may again take to the streets for an increase in wages.
So, what can Childcare Centre Owner do to try and keep their educators happy and employed? The answer be to create “value-adds”. That’s why we have compiled these top 5 ways to create a positive environment (on zero budget) in a Childcare Centre:
- Create a positive culture. Believe it or not, but more employees stay with their employer because they like the culture, and not because of how much (or how little) they get paid. Try putting up an “Educator of the Month” bulletin board.
- Say “thank you” face-to-face. That means popping around after their shift to have a chat and genuinely say that their effort is appreciated by you personally. Kindness goes a long way.
- Ask for their opinion. Inviting your team to help improve your business is key to creating a culture of openness and inclusiveness.
- Recognise staff for their efforts outside of the business. This could mean being involved in volunteer work, charities, fun runs and other community building activities.
- Post it on social media. Facebook, Instagram, e-Newsletters. It’s time to get social. Centres with a good social profile will attract the best staff. This is a quick way to reward and recognise your people for doing a stellar job.
The light at the end of the tunnel
Running a Childcare Centre is challenging at the best of times but there are people ready to support you on your journey. Leadership skills such as communicating what is in (and out) of your managerial control can help your staff enormously and bring the team together. Even with the simplest of things, such as bookkeeping, the team at Target Accounting can provide you with payroll handling advice and training.
If you need expert advice on the bookkeeping or accounting systems that can easily handle legislative changes call Target Accounting here.