For the first time, providers will receive health care incentives from the State.
In an agreement that will improve the lives of nearly 2,700 Bay State family child care providers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509 and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reached a tentative three-year contract agreement Wednesday evening. The settlement provides significant gains for providers around compensation, parity with day care center providers, and a $3 million fund for healthcare reimbursements – the first of its kind. The agreement also sets the stage for further policy discussions around child care access and affordability for working families.
“We’re incredibly proud of the strides we’ve made in raising wages and benefits for our family child care members across Massachusetts,” said Celina Reyes, President of the Family Child Care chapter at SEIU 509 who operates a family child care in Lawrence. “Whether at home or in center-based care, we all do the important work of caring for our Commonwealth’s children. This contract takes a giant step toward parity with center-based providers.”
Unlike other state workers, family child care providers are responsible for nearly all costs associated with their work, including maintenance, retirement and healthcare costs. For the first time, this agreement begins to address the unique financial burdens of in-home providers.
The tentative agreement includes hard-fought benefits on:
Healthcare fund: The Commonwealth has established $3 million in funds to help providers offset health, vision, and dental costs. The parameters around how that money is distributed will be determined in future labor management meetings.
Rate Increases: Family child care providers have won a 7.5% rate increase over the three-year span of the contract – 3.52% retroactive from 2019- now, and 2% each in 2020 and 2021.
Rate Increases on Par with Day Care Centers: In an effort to work toward parity with educators at center-based early education programs, providers are now guaranteed rate increases that are equal or better than center–based rate increases.
Paid Time Off: Providers will be given an extra paid day off, bringing the total to five.
A Voice for Families and Providers: The agreement outlines future Labor and Management discussions between family child care providers and the Department of Early Education & Care to address systemic issues in early childhood education, with an emphasis on reducing a growing wait list of kids seeking affordable child care, the rising cost of operating a business, and licensing investigations.
“Our family child care providers are simply looking for the benefits every person should have access to: quality healthcare and a secure retirement. This agreement continues to professionalize the valuable work our family child care members do to educate and care for future generations,” said Peter MacKinnon, President of SEIU Local 509. “But there is more work to be done. Nearly 20,000 children across Massachusetts sit on waitlists for affordable child care vouchers, jeopardizing a parents’ ability to take a job and provide for their family. We are eager to begin the work to ensure every working family can access the quality care our child care members provide.”
The tentative settlement with the Department of Early Education and Care is the second contract for SEIU 509 early childhood members, who were formally recognized by the state in 2016. This new agreement will go into effect once it is ratified by a majority vote of participating providers in the coming weeks.
About SEIU Local 509:
SEIU Local 509 represents nearly 20,000 human service workers and educators throughout Massachusetts. Local 509 members are united in our mission to raise living standards for working families while improving the quality and affordability of the services we provide.
To speak with family child care providers and leaders of the campaign to address child care affordability and access in Massachusetts, contact Megan Piccirillo at (973) 668-8999 or email@example.com.