By CELA on 29 Sep, 2023

Fair pay and conditions for early educators is one step closer, following a decision by the Fair Work Commission. The move will allow employer representatives and unions to negotiate under new multi-employer bargaining laws.

The Secure Jobs, Better Pay laws make it easier for 80 per cent of early education services to access collective bargaining. Community Early Learning Australia (CELA) and Community Child Care Association (CCC) are representing small and community early education employers in negotiations. Their goal is to ensure early educators get the pay, support and recognition they deserve without increasing costs to families.

“This is an historic opportunity to take an inter-generational handbrake off our economy," said CELA CEO Michele Carnegie. "This agreement can finally deliver professional pay to thousands of educators and improve access to quality early education for children and families.”


  • The Fair Work Commission’s decision approves the application for a Supported Bargaining Authorisation made by the United Workers Union, the Australian Education Union (Victorian Branch) and the Independent Education Union.
  • Early education employers are represented by Community Early Learning Australia, Community Child Care Association, the Australian Child Care Alliance and G8 Education.
  • The process includes 64 long day care sector employers with 12,000 educators nationally. Its aim is to build a model which can be extended across the entire sector.
  • Negotiations for the first national multi-employer bargaining agreement commence in the coming weeks.

Why we're seeking Federal Government funding

  • As primary funder of the long day care sector, the Federal Government can be requested to participate in facilitating discussions.
  • Employers and unions want to negotiate a new agreement supported by government funding to deliver professional wages for early childhood educators and teachers. This will mean families won’t pay additional out-of-pocket costs.

Why access to collective bargaining is important for small and community services

  • Small and community providers make up 80 per cent of the early childhood education and care sector.
  • Negotiating individual enterprise agreements is a lengthy and expensive process, meaning most early education providers must rely on minimum wages set by awards.
  • A new multi-employer agreement will cover employers who are part of the bargaining process. It will provide a model that can be extended across the early childhood sector, including outside school hours care and state government-funded preschools.

Members can find out more about multi employer bargaining and why we are supporting it in our recent Broadside article:

About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.

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