Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Union urges action over childcare worker wages

Union urges action over childcare worker wages

MAKEUP RULES:One worker said her pay was docked whenever she did not wear lipstick, with more cuts made when she did not apply makeup after a break

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter, with CNA
Childcare workers suffer from excessive overtime and low wages, the National Federation of Teacher’s Unions said yesterday, urging the government to inspect private childcare institutes, which they say often fail to observe labor regulations.
A majority of childcare workers in central and southern Taiwan earn less than NT$22,000 per month, although they work more than 13 hours a day, representatives from the federation said at a news conference.
Federation secretary-general Liu Ching-hsu (劉欽旭) said that employers often make unreasonable demands of childcare workers and dock their pay if they do not comply.
“Many private preschools charge high tuition fees, yet are incredibly stingy toward their employees,” Liu said.
Liu said employers often cut their workers’ pay using a variety of excuses such as when a pupil transfers to another school, when dust is found on school floors and in one case when a female employee did not wear a dress to work.
One childcare worker, who preferred to be known as Miss A, said NT$50 was deducted from her pay whenever she forgot to wear lipstick to a former workplace.
Further deductions were made when she forgot to reapply lipstick or makeup after lunch, she said.
Federation deputy director Yen Jia-chen (顏嘉辰) said childcare workers in the north are usually paid NT$26,000 to NT$28,000 a month before deductions, while certified preschool teachers at public institutions receive entry-level pay of NT$39,000 per month.
The fact that many childcare workers are not certified preschool teachers makes it more difficult for them to fight for reasonable wages, the federation said.
In September, private childcare institutions voiced their opposition to a proposed amendment to the Early Childhood Education and Care Act (幼兒教育及照顧法), which stipulates that all private preschools should employ at least one certified preschool teacher.
Only 30 percent of childcare facilities nationwide are publicly owned, while 70 percent are private institutions, according to statistics provided by the Childcare Policy Alliance.
At the news conference, the Ministry of Education said it would continue to encourage childcare facilities to improve working conditions for employees through official evaluations and financial rewards, as well as promote the establishment of nonprofit preschools.

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