Budget 2019, A Staffing Crisis & Pay Scales

Tomorrow the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe will announce Budget 2019. SIPTU members have been campaigning across across the country to make Early Years funding a priority.

But even with a spending increase we know the big challenges of low wages and high fees won’t be completely solved in a single budget.

That’s why the SIPTU Pre-Budget Statement sets out the steps needed to transform the Early Years Sector.


Ending the staffing crisis, introducing pay scales and reducing fees; these can only happen with increased government funding. Despite significant increases in recent years, investment is still way too low.

In its Pre-Budget Statement SIPTU is calling for government to increase Early Years spending to the EU average over a 5-year period. This would increase investment from €485 million in 2018 to €2.1 billion in 2023. Spending should increase to the UNICEF 1% GDP target by 2027.

Pay Scales

Providers cannot pay what they do not have. That’s why the introduction of pay scales depends on increased government funding.

In the Pre-Budget Statement SIPTU is calling for just that. Our sector needs increased funding for decent pay scales.

Pay scales will be established using a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO), but wages will only increase as government funding increases. Indeed, government will only provide funding for decent pay and conditions if there is a pay scale in place.

The SEO process will involve SIPTU, providers and the government to make sure that everyone’s interests and concerns are considered.

Next Steps

Managers, room leaders and educators need to be recognised and valued for their professionalism. By joining SIPTU you bring the entire sector one step closer to establishing pay scales and securing the necessary government funding.

We can make big changes in the Early Years sector but the only way is by working together.

If you want to find out more or get involved please contact bigstart@siptu.ie.

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