Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancement

As part of Government's Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, front-line Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) working in licensed child care facilities will soon be eligible to receive an additional $2 per hour wage enhancement bringing the total to $4 per hour. This is the third wage enhancement offered to licensed ECEs since September 2018.

This latest wage enhancement will come into effect September 1, 2021 with payment implemented by March 2022. Funds will be retroactively paid back to ECE’s in a lump sum on hours worked as of September 1, 2021. Participating providers do not need to take any further action as the payment will be based on their regular monthly reports.

Additional funding for statutory benefits is also provided at a rate of 19.25% (effective Jan 1, 2022).

Participation in the Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancement (ECE-WE) is optional, and child care providers can apply at any time. Parents and child care staff can contact the Child Care Service Centre for information about a facility’s ECE-WE application.

Eligibility

To apply, the facility must be approved for the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative (if eligible). Universal Child Care Prototype Sites are also eligible to apply.

Front-line ECEs, including those who are also owner/operators of a licensed child care facility, are eligible for the wage enhancement if they are directly employed by a licensed child care facility that meets the child care provider requirements above.

Review the full eligibility requirements:

Apply or Renew 

Once Approved

Providers approved to participate in the ECE-WE are required to:

  • Notify their eligible ECEs and collect a written acknowledgement
  • Distribute the wage enhancement and the applicable funding for statutory benefits to eligible ECEs
  • Remain enrolled for the duration of the funding term

Access the following support documents:

Employer Health Tax

The Employer Health Tax (EHT) is an annual tax that applies to employers with B.C. remuneration greater than $500,000 (non-profit and charitable employers with remuneration greater than $1,500,000). Child care providers may be eligible for reimbursement of any EHT they pay as a result of receiving the Early Childhood Educator Wage Enhancement (ECE-WE).

This reimbursement ensures that the amount of EHT paid by providers does not change due to their participation in the ECE-WE.

Applications for reimbursement for the 2020 tax year are now closed. Applications for the 2021 tax year will be available in 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions

The retroactive period for hours worked will be from September 1, 2021 to the date the payment is made (by March 2022).

Providers will receive payment for the retroactive period by March 2022. Once payment is received, employers will be expected to distribute payments to eligible ECEs  within 30 days.

Employers should continue to claim Hours Worked by eligible ECE employees as usual, throughout the retroactive period and continue to pay eligible ECEs the current $2 wage enhancement.

Employers will also need to facilitate payment to employees that may have left their employment during the retroactive period.

If you are an employee, your employer will continue to claim your Hours Worked as usual. Self employed ECEs should continue to claim Hours Worked for themselves or any eligible ECE Employees as usual, throughout the retroactive period. Eligible ECE's will continue to receive the current wage enhancement ($2/hour) throughout the retroactive period.

If an ECE leaves their current employer, the employee should keep the employer updated on their contact information during the retroactive period. Employers are required to distribute the wage enhancement to eligible past employees once the retroactive period is over.

The intent of the “front-line” requirement is to ensure the ECE-WE is being provided to ECEs whose primary responsibility/function is providing direct care/supervision to children in an eligible licensed child care facility.

If, on average, an ECE spends 50% of their time – on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis – providing direct care/supervision to children, they qualify for the ECE-WE.

Eligible ECEs receive the $2/hour Wage Enhancement (plus applicable Mandatory Statutory Benefits) for all hours worked for an eligible child care facility. This includes administrative time up to a monthly maximum of 195 hours. Administrative time is hours of work paid for by the employer and could include activities such as:

  • The owner/manager of a facility asking an ECE staff member to leave the premises to pick up child care related supplies
  • Performing administrative or preparation duties on- or off-site, in relation to the direct care of children
  • Attending meetings on behalf of the program/facility

In order to practice in B.C., ECEs must hold a valid certificate issued by the Director of the BC ECE Registry under Division 2 of Part 3 of the Child Care Licensing Regulation. ECEs that don't hold a valid certificate are not qualified to be employed in a licensed child care facility as an educator, and are therefore also not eligible to receive the ECE-WE.

It is the ECE's responsibility to ensure their certification has not expired, and the organization's responsibility to verify their staff's ECE certification is valid. To verify an ECE Certificate and ensure ECE staff meet these criteria, the facility/organization can use the ECE Registry online Certificate Validation tool.

In order to provide sufficient time for processing and review, ECEs are encouraged to submit their renewal applications to the ECE Registry at least 4-6 weeks in advance of expiry.