In recent weeks, there was a historic day for early learning and childcare workers with a new pay agreement providing long overdue increases, a Senator has said. Senator Mary Seery-Kearney, Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality, Integration and Privacy Rights, noted the monumental agreement within which Employment Regulation Orders will provide the first ever minimum rates of pay for early learning and childcare workers.
Senator Seery-Kearney said, “This is a huge relief for over 70% of staff working in this sector as they will be set for a pay increase, supported through the Government’s €221 million core funding scheme. “Early years educators and school-age childcare practitioners carry out crucial work and finally, we take a huge step towards recognising their professional standing, passion and dedication. “This agreement also showcases how all stakeholders worked efficiently and effectively towards positive reform. These include members of the Joint Labour Committee and those interested parties who made submissions as part of the public consultation for their contributions to this process.
“Low pay and conditions have long been a problem within this sector, making the job of attracting staff and retaining them extremely difficult for childcare providers. Campaigning for better conditions within childcare for both those wonderful professionals who work in it and for those who provide childcare services continues to be a priority of my own and it was a clear message arising out of the recent Fine Gael Care of the Child Policy Lab. “Having a structured career with properly remunerated pay scales in childcare is essential to ensuring that every child in the country will have access to a childcare service.
“Universal childcare provision is crucial to the equality of opportunity and holistic development of our children, stable staffing and properly remunerated professionals is a cornerstone of ensuring that. I am hopeful this announcement will provide some hope for those who envision a future in early learning and childcare work”, concluded Senator Seery-Kearney.