Equality, Sustainability and Covid-19

The DCYA’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme is now live.

After an incredibly challenging and frustrating month, the scheme will bring much needed certainty and support to educators and providers.

However there are problems that need to be fixed.

Sustainability & Recognition

Over the past month SIPTU has campaigned relentlessly to improve the Wage Subsidy Scheme for both educators and providers.

Over 3,500 services have signed up so far, but the scale of the Covid-19 crisis is a big challenge.

That’s why SIPTU is again calling for the ‘Sustainability Fund’ to be opened up to private services.

Government needs to recognise the Early Years as a vital public service and ensure it survives this crisis.

Owner managers also need a decent wage; that’s why SIPTU called for equal treatment under the wage subsidy scheme.

Any future funding model must fund a decent pay scale for educators and owner managers.

Maternity Leave

Educators returning from maternity leave are currently excluded from Revenue’s Wage Subsidy Scheme.

This means they are being forced back onto social welfare as most providers won’t have the money to pay wages.

This is clearly discriminatory and deeply unjust.

That’s why SIPTU, together with the ACP and National Women’s Council of Ireland, has raised the issue with the Minister for Finance.

We are calling for the Wage Subsidy Scheme to cover educators returning from maternity leave.

ECEC & Frontline Workers

The lack of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) for frontline workers is a big problem, particularly in the heath service.

But any proposals to deliver ECEC have to put the health safety of educators, parents and children at it’s core.

That’s why SIPTU wrote to the DCYA on the 16th March and outlined our position;

  • Any proposed scheme must be based best advice from the HSE with the key aim of limiting the spread of Covid-19 to educators, children and parents
  • Participation in the scheme should be voluntary for educators and providers
  • Educators should be appropriately paid
  • Educators should have access advice and representation from their union

So far there has been no agreement or discussion with the DCYA or employers in relation to any scheme.

Working in a service

Over the past two weeks a number of educators have been instructed to work ‘on site’ to do cleaning, supervision or social media work.

SIPTU has clarified with the DCYA that this is nonessential work and in breach of the government’s travel restrictions.

United We Stand

The Covid-19 emergency is a massive challenge for our country and our sector.

SIPTU will continue to fight for our sector and to make sure it is supported to survive this crisis.

SIPTU members who have any queries can contact their local organiser or email bigstart@siptu.ie.

If you haven’t joined yet, you can sign up here.

Please take care of yourself and loved ones.

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