Higher wages for starting teachers in Flanders hope to curb shortage

Higher wages for starting teachers in Flanders hope to curb shortage
Credit: Belga

More than 8,300 new teachers are getting an accelerated pay rise of up to €50 net per month, according to the office of Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts.

The measure comes in response to the teacher shortage currently facing the education sector in the region.

“We are making it a little more attractive again to start a career in education,” Weyts said in a statement. “Starting teachers deserve to be given extra security and extra appreciation sooner.”

The measure is one of many aimed at attracting more young people to the profession.

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“There is no silver bullet that will immediately solve the teacher shortage, so we are taking many measures on many fronts,” said Weyts.

“Too many teachers left education in their first five years in the classroom. That outflow is now starting to decrease and we want to reduce it even further. One way of doing this is to allow teachers to build up seniority immediately and thus offer that first pay rise sooner. That is also a token of appreciation.”

Old rules meant new teachers didn’t build pay seniority

Previously, young teachers had to reach a minimum age before becoming eligible for their first pay rise.

Teachers build up seniority during their career and receive pay increases in line with their years of service, but until recently those with a bachelor's degree had to be at least 22 years old for their first pay rise and those with a masters at least 24.

For teachers born in December, it could even mean that they had to work for about a year and a half without building up seniority.

Last year, during the negotiations on the new Collective Labour Agreement (CAO), the education partners agreed to abolish this obsolete rule.

Making teaching a more attractive profession

That new CLA means 8,334 teachers will now receive their first salary increase, which can amount to approximately €50 net per month, about a year earlier.

The first teachers saw the increase appear on their pay slips when their salaries were paid in February 2022, and the measure applies to all teachers who will be entering the teaching profession in the future.

Weyts’ office says it’s one of several measures that should help attract more young people to teaching and keep more of them in the profession.

Other measures include the reform of permanent appointments – which will give young teachers faster prospects of security and stability – and €10 million extra funding per year for better initial guidance for starting teachers.

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