Salary of educators – equal pay for equal performance?


In recent months, the strike of educators in daycare centers has been omnipresent. In addition to whistles, vests, media coverage and annoyed parents who had to find alternative solutions for their children's daycare, the question of pay equity is also at the center of attention, despite all the understanding for the unions' demands.

Does the principle of "equal pay for equal performance" still apply?!"or have we already said goodbye to this?? What are the consequences when trade unions demand more money for community educators or curative education nurses, but social specialists at other employers go empty-handed?

educator = educator?

Educators can be employed by public (municipal) and independent providers, but also by private sector providers. All of these work relationships have one thing in common: The focus of the occupational field is early childhood education, upbringing and care of children – the development of motor skills, coordination and cognition, enthusiasm for music, theater, nature and movement, the development and realization of creative ideas, playing, learning, romping together and respectful coexistence, but also the teaching of a structured daily routine as well as social behavior, norms and values.

One difference is that educators in municipal daycare centers benefit from the income development of the public sector, whereas employees at independent organizations such as the AWO, the DRK, the Diakonie, the churches or parent initiatives (some of them non-profit organizations) usually have to be satisfied with much less. The GEW talks about a difference in earnings of 670 to 1.000 euros gross, the representatives of the free carriers of about 200 euros. Whoever thinks evil of this is in for a scandal, because there are also considerable salary differences between East and West, men and women, the length of time spent in the profession, and full-time and part-time employment.

A (significantly) lower payment for the same work should motivate everyone to either change employers as quickly as possible or to take a completely different career path. Consequence: In particular the Kindertagesstatten in free sponsorship would have to run out soon the specialists. But wrongly thought!

Market economy in the social sector?

A high percentage of the financing burden for daycare centers is shouldered by the federal states, which have legislative competence in this area, the municipalities and youth welfare offices. In addition, parental contributions and the respective provider's own funds can be used to cover the personnel, material and investment costs incurred.

While commercial operators are excluded from receiving public subsidies, independent operators have the advantage of also being able to bring in donations, sponsorship money, funds from sponsoring associations or membership fees into their operations. In combination with the comparatively lower personnel costs, this often results in lower parental contributions at independent kindergartens than at public institutions – a supposed competitive advantage?

Competition stimulates business

The differentiated provider landscape makes it possible for a wide variety of care models (e.g., childcare, childcare for the elderly, childcare for the elderly, childcare for the elderly, etc.) to be used. B. different pedagogical concepts or care times) can provide care services in line with needs. The institutions rely on their own pedagogic or content-related strengths (e.g. B. House of little researchers, technicians etc., healthy Kita, multilingual or multicultural Kita, integrative groups, church values) and thus offer different services or opening hours.

Independent organizations are considered to be more flexible in these matters because they can draw on professional support from their umbrella organization in their respective field of activity and benefit from internal networks. In addition, providers that are not bound by collective bargaining agreements are in a better position to respond to the need for shifted or longer opening hours. Public daycare centers, on the other hand, have to contend with the prejudice that they tend to be sluggish, conservative and less willing to experiment, and that they are unable to develop a sharper profile.

What should parents choose now? As always, the truth lies in the middle.


Since the legal entitlement to childcare, many daycare centers are bursting at the seams and have waiting lists. The providers are under pressure to invest and are desperately looking for qualified staff. If, however, the mere acquisition of a daycare place is the top priority, fair competition for a high quality of care in terms of personnel and content, flexible opening hours that meet demand, and affordable parental contributions are hardly possible.

And equal pay for equal work? We can only dream of this – but not only in social work.

Salary of educators – equal money for equal performance?

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