Today (12th March 2020) SIPTU attended a meeting of the Early Years Forum on the Coronavirus, it’s impact and actions to support the sector.
Obviously the situation is changing rapidly and the safety of children and staff is the top priority, however the educators and services need to be supported also.
The key points of the meeting were:
- The DCYA confirmed that all funding (ECCE, NCS, TEC, CCS) will continue during the two week shutdown.
- There was broad agreement from stakeholders that services should continue to pay their staff where possible, particularly in ECCE only settings.
- If a service is unable to pay wages, staff can avail of Jobseeker’s Payment or Supplementary Welfare Allowance during the ‘lay off’ period.
- SIPTU called for staff who are ‘layed off’ to have access to ‘Illness Benifit’ of €305 a week from day one. We will continue to make this demand of government over the coming days.
- INTREO offices are ready to deal with queries that people may have in relation to accessing social welfare.
- Services may open for training / cleaning etc. subject to insurance cover, reasonable precautions and any future HSE guidance.
- Currently services are expected to reopen on Monday 30th March.
- SIPTU also highlighted the fact that the Early Years sector provides a vital public service and needs to be recognised as such.
We will continue to update if there are any developments.
The whole country must come together during this extraordinary time, as a profession we must do so too.
Please take care of each other, and yourselves.
Ni neart cur le cheile,
SIPTU Big Start Campaign