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Childcare minimum wage report “misleading”, says Alliance

Family and Childcare Trust report claims that one in 10 childcare workers are underpaid
The Alliance has criticised a report from the Family and Childcare Trust which claims that up to 22,000 childcare practitioners are being paid at a rate below the minimum wage.
The report claims that one in 10 practitioners are paid less that the National Living Wage, currently set at £7.20 an hour for those aged 25 and older. However, its findings are based on data from the DfE’s Childcare and Early Years providers survey, which was carried out between March and July 2016.
The National Living Wage was not introduced until 1 April 2016. Prior to this policy change, the minimum wage was set at £6.70 an hour. This means that while some of employees surveyed could have been paid less than £7.20 an hour, they were not being paid less than the legal minimum at the time.
The Family and Childcare Trust has called on the government to stop funding settings that do not comply with the law on minimum salaries, but its report has been criticised by the Alliance as “misleading” and “irresponsible”.
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, said: “We’re very clear that no childcare provider should be paying their employees less than the minimum wage, and it is of course right that any instances of this happening are investigated and dealt with appropriately. However, we completely reject the claim that such breaches are happening on anywhere near the scale that the Family and Childcare Trust are suggesting.”
Neil also noted that those reportedly paying less than £7.20 were paying at least £6.70 an hour, suggesting that they were complying with the legal minimum before it changed. He added: “There’s no doubt that low pay in the early years sector remains a significant problem, and one that the government has turned a blind eye to for far too long. However, reports like this do little to help the situation.”