Wage increases now official for Early Childcare Workers

Eoin Ryan

A new minimum wage has been announced for those working in childcare services increasing the pay of 73% of those working in the sector.

The ‘Together for Better’ funding model was introduced alongside this which includes a Core Funding Scheme for Early Learning and Care and School Age Childcare. 9 out of 10 early and school age childcare providers, close to 4,000 services, have signed up for Core Funding.

Ratoath Labour Representative and SIPTU activist Eilish Balfe posted on Facebook congratulating 6,000 members of SIPTU in the early childcare and education sector,

Early Years Educators and School-Age Childcare practitioners will be getting €13.00 an hour and €17.25 for Graduate Managers.

“We did it. We finally did it. We have legislated our minimum pay rates. We joined a union, we stood up for our sector, we stood up for each other and we campaigned, we marched and we campaigned again and we finally got those wins. We got the win in the budget last year, we got the win when we got the seat on the JLC committee, and we got our win when we got them minimum pay rates, and it was our union who got those minimum pay rates for us.”

The Core Funding Scheme includes €221 million for the Early Childhood Care and Education Programme to guarantee no increases in charges for parents.

Service providers signed up to the ‘Together for Better’ funding model are not allowed to increase fees above what parents paid last year from 30 September 2021.

Employment Regulation Orders began on 15th September with an estimated 73% of people working in the childcare sector seeing a wage increase.

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman said this would mean childcare fees would freeze for 200,000 families and improve pay and work conditions for 25,000 childcare workers.

These changes come after decreases in the number or early years carers available and concerns regarding the difficulties regarding childcare expenses and complaints of low wages by members of SIPTU.

Ireland has the most expensive prices for childcare in Europe, while at the same time employs many carers on minimum wage.

SIPTU activist Deborah Reynolds says in the cities and areas such as Meath and Kildare “the fees are just impregnably high, anything up to 250 a week, if not more.”

Over €1,000 of a person’s wages can be spent on providing care for their child, leading some to instead leave their job as they are better off caring for their child by themselves.

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