VECTEA 2024

Frequently Asked Questions for Committees and Managers

Last updated April 2024

What is the VECTEA?

The Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement (VECTEA) is an enterprise agreement that applies to early childhood teachers and educators employed in kindergarten education programs in Victoria.

The most recent version of the VECTEA, the VECTEA 2020 is up for re-negotiation in 2024.

What happens to the VECTEA 2020 during the re-negotiation period?

During the negotiation period, the existing agreements, VECTEA 2020 and its ‘mirror’ agreements, VECA 2021, VEEA 2021, and VOTTEA 2023, will remain in effect.

Once the Fair Work Commission approves the new VECTEA 2024, which will include any new salaries and conditions, these agreements will be replaced by the new VECTEA 2024.

All employees who will be covered by the new VECTEA 2024, will have the opportunity to vote before the new agreement is approved.

Does ELAA negotiate and manage the VECTEA?

As we have done for over 20 years, Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA), in our role as the Peak Body and employer representative, will be entering into negotiations with the relevant sector unions for a new agreement.  

ELAA is committed to negotiating a new agreement that meets the growing policy needs of Governments that are now recognising the value of high-quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC).   

Which employees will the proposed VECTEA 2024 cover?

This proposed agreement will cover your education team, including nominated supervisors, educational leaders, early childhood teachers, and certificate III qualified (including Additional Assistants) and diploma-qualified educators who work to support the delivery of kindergarten programs including sessional kindergarten programs and kindergarten programs within integrated long day care services,.

What are some of the benefits of the VECTEA for my teaching staff?

The VECTEA has delivered significantly improved pay and conditions for teachers compared to teachers on the industry (modern) award, enabling kindergartens to retain their superior quality ratings.​

Some of the beneficial employment conditions of the VECTEA 2020 for teachers and educators include:​

  • extended planning time to support quality programming ​ (30 minutes per teaching hour for early childhood teachers (ECT) and 15 minutes per teaching hour for educators)
  • 10 weeks of paid annual leave (term break leave)
  • 16 weeks of employer-paid parental leave for primary caregivers​
  • 20 days of paid family and domestic violence leave​
  • 15 days (pro-rata) of paid personal/carers’ leave each year​
  • graduate teacher mentoring leave ​
  • a government-funded Wellbeing Support Program (EAP).

What is an enterprise agreement? Is this the same as an award?

Both enterprise agreements and awards are referred to as industrial instruments. Industrial instruments are legally binding documents that specify the terms and conditions of employment, including the minimum pay and obligations of employers.

Enterprise agreements

Enterprise agreements (previously referred to as enterprise bargaining agreements or EBA) are written employment agreements between employers (or a group of employers) and employees and their unions.

An enterprise agreement sets out the minimum terms and conditions of employment, including wages, for employees for a set period of up to four years. If an agreement applies to an employee, the modern award does not apply even if it covers them. An enterprise agreement may also have some terms and conditions that are different from the award.

An enterprise agreement must meet several requirements under the Fair Work Act before the Fair Work Commission can approve it. The terms and conditions of an enterprise agreement must have terms and conditions that are better off overall than the equivalent modern award and must not exclude any of the National Employment Standards.

The Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement (VECTEA) is an enterprise agreement that covers common-interest employers who agree to bargain together.

Modern awards

A modern award (an award) is a document that sets out the minimum terms and conditions of employment on top of the National Employment Standards (NES) in the Fair Work Act. Employees in early childhood education and care services not covered by the VECTEA, will usually be employed in accordance with the relevant industry and occupational awards.

I provide our employees with contracts, are they still covered by an award or enterprise agreement?

A contract of employment is only a part of the employment law framework in Australia, referred to as the national workplace relations system. The national workplace relations system includes the Fair Work Act 2009, the National Employment Standards, registered agreements and awards.

An employment contract cannot legally displace award or agreement terms and conditions, so if an award or agreement applies, it forms the employment contract background.

Both enterprise agreements (registered agreements) and awards are industrial instruments. Industrial instruments are legally binding industrial documents that specify the terms and conditions of employment, including the minimum pay and obligations of employers.

A simplified relationship between industrial instruments (awards/agreements), employment contracts and workplace relations legislation is detailed below.

When does the VECTEA 2020 expire? What happens to the VECTEA 2020 after its nominal expiry date?

The Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement 2020 (VECTEA) and the agreements that mirror its terms and conditions reach their nominal expiry date on 30 September 2024.

The VECTEA 2020 will continue to operate past its nominal expiry date until its replacement agreement, the VECTEA 2024, is finalised and approved by the Fair Work Commission.

What happens to VECTEA 2020 pay increases during the re-negotiation period?

The last scheduled salary increase under VECTEA 2020, along with its corresponding agreements, was in April 2024. During the re-negotiation period, current salaries established under VECTEA 2020 will continue to be in effect.

Future salary increases under a new VECTEA 2024 will take effect once the Fair Work Commission approves the new agreement.

ELAA will continue to release Wage Bulletins every July for the VECTEA 2020. During this period, salaries of certain VECTEA classifications may be updated in accordance with increases to the underpinning modern awards. However, this does not apply to all VECTEA classifications.

ELAA Members can access the ELAA Wage Bulletins on the ELAA website’s MyMembership portal here (a member login is required). 

Who can I contact if I have questions about the VECTEA process?

ELAA members can contact Member Solutions at (03) 9489 3500 (Press 2) between 10 am – 3 pm, Monday to Friday) or email us at membersolutions@elaa.org.au.

If you are an employee who is a member of a union, you can contact the following for further information:

Australian Education Union (AEU) – Victorian Branch

United Workers Union

Employees may also contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for further information at: Contact us – Fair Work Ombudsman.

I'm an ELAA member, how do I stay informed about changes to the VECTEA?

As an ELAA member, you can receive regular VECTEA updates through our weekly ELAAvate e-newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

Further, when you renew your membership this year, we will also ask you to nominate a VECTEA 2024 contact who will receive important VECTEA-related correspondence via email. 

We value our members’ input and would like to involve members in the bargaining process. During this period, we will engage and consult with ELAA members in our Industrial Relations Reference Group and relevant subcommittees. 

Resources

Access a copy of the Victorian Early Childhood Teachers and Educators Agreement 2020 (VECTEA): FWC Version – VECTEA 2020 [2021] FWCA 3620 (PDF).

VECTEA 2024 Notice of Employee Representational Rights