California’s subsidized child care providers are finally set to receive long overdue supplemental pay from the state this month following more than a year of organizing and bargaining efforts from providers. License-exempt providers will receive checks for $1,500, providers with small licenses will receive $8,000, and providers with large licenses will receive $10,000 from the state. These checks are one-time payments for the 2021-22 fiscal year but will become monthly payments next fiscal year. CCPU members will continue to negotiate with the state to make these payments permanent.
The union prioritized these payments in bargaining their first contract, noting that providers earning as little as $5 per hour per child were facing thousands of dollars in unexpected bills to keep their child care businesses open during the pandemic, from cleaning supplies to high speed internet for children who were attending school remotely. The historically low pay providers have faced since Emancipation has never been commensurate with the high quality care they provide and has created even greater barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic. California child care providers have spent more than two decades advocating for fair pay at the state Capitol.
Annette Nicholson, a provider from Stockton who helped negotiate these payments said:
“California child care providers can finally pay overdue bills, make repairs to our homes – which also serve as our businesses – and invest in supplies to keep our quality early learning programs available to the low income working families who rely on us day in and day out, including every single day of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I already live paycheck to paycheck and when my fence came down in a storm in the winter of 2020, I had no choice but to take money I had set aside for my retirement to repair the fence so that the children I care for could continue to have safe outdoor play and learning time.
“I am grateful to be a part of a union of fellow providers advocating for this long-overdue increase in pay in bargaining with the state. We have been called “essential” since March of 2020 but with these payments, it finally feels like the state is acknowledging the essential nature of the care we provide.
“I am so proud to have won these checks through my union and look forward to continuing to sit down with the state to win additional protections, from health care access to retirement savings. We need early education to be a source of good, middle class jobs in order to keep existing child care homes open, encourage new providers to join our workforce, and ultimately make care accessible to all California families who need quality child care to go to work every day and help our state recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”