April 16, 2019
Fredericton (GNB) – The New Brunswick Women’s Council is asking government to share whether it has plans to further increase the wages of homecare workers and early childhood educators. It has also asked for information on how the informal caregiver benefit program was deemed to be ineffective and whether there are plans for supporting informal caregivers.
Over the last two weeks, government has announced details on wage increases promised in the 2019-2020 budget. A variety of home care and group home workers will receive increases ranging between 50 cents and $2 per hour. Early childhood educators with a two-year diploma or four-year degree in early childhood education or a related field will receive an additional seventy-five cents per hour.
“While we welcome any wage increase for workers in fields dominated by women where pay is low due to gender-based discrimination, the increases announced in recent weeks do not bring wages to an equitable level,” said council co-chair Jody Dallaire. “We are looking for a plan on raises that will redress the reality that these workers are underpaid given the value of the work they do.”
The council has advised government that equitable hourly wages would be $21.85 for home care workers (i.e. individuals providers non-medical personal care in the clients’ own homes), $21.89 for early childhood educators, and $26.60 for supervisory staff in early childhood education centres. These recommendations are based on rates established by the Coalition for Pay Equity and the economist Ruth Rose in 2014 adjusted for inflation.
The council has also advised government that it is concerned with the narrow scope of increases for early childhood educators.
“Fewer than 25% of early childhood educators in the province will be eligible for this increase,” said council co-chair Jody Dallaire. “Without a plan for increases for educators at other levels of experience and training, workers in this sector will feel even further devalued and overlooked by government.”
The council has requested this information so that it may provide government with relevant advice on issues as per its mandate.
“Access to this information will help ensure the council is able to provide relevant advice that is in line with government’s commitment to consultation and evidence-based decision-making,” said Jennifer Richard, co-chair of the council.
The New Brunswick Women’s Council is an independent advisory body on women’s equality issues.
Media contact: Beth Lyons, Executive Director, New Brunswick Women’s Council, 506-462-5142 [email protected]