Budget 2019: Affordability In Not Enough

Budget 2019 was about affordable childcare. It delivered an additional €89 million for Early Years, mostly targeted at the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

However, Budget 2019 was not about quality childcare or low pay.

Low pay has resulted in a staffing crisis with 28% of staff leaving their job every year. This staffing crisis is undermining quality as dedicated and skilled professionals are forced to leave a job they love just to make ends meet.

If we want quality Early Years, we need pay scales that recognise quality work. Early Years professionals have the tool to make this happen.

Minister Katherine Zappone, Post Budget Press Briefing, 10th October 2019

Funding for Pay Scales

To fix the staffing crisis, we need decent pay scales. But providers cannot pay what they don’t have, that’s why we need government increase investment in this vital public service.

However, government won’t increase funding for pay unless there is a pay scale in place. That’s why we need a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO).

An SEO will set minimum rates of pay for managers, room leaders and educators. This will give the government the guarantee it needs that extra money for pay will go towards pay.

Countdown for Change

In her post-budget press conference Minister Zappone once again stated her support for an SEO. Indeed, she has previously said “if I were a childcare worker, I would join a union.”

This is because 1/3 of the Early Years staff need to join SIPTU. before we can establish an SEO. The good news is that we are almost halfway there.

By joining SIPTU. and encouraging others do so, we can win pay scales. By campaigning together the can win the necessary government funding.

The Early Years sector cannot afford another budget like this one. It’s time to take a stand for pay, quality and recognition.

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