Government must act as pay crisis deepens (July 2020)

The low pay crisis is getting worse.

This week SIPTU launched the Early Years Professionals ‘Back to Work’ survey results. The finding are stark.

For Early Years Professionals who have returned to work:

  • 29% are earning less now than before the lock-down
  • 61% are struggling to make ends meet
  • 31% intend to leave their profession within the next 12 months

Low pay does not just impact living standards, it takes a toll psychologically and emotionally.

It also reflects the lack of recognition for our profession and the vital public service we deliver.

Government Must Act

The new government has pledged to make a “career in childcare more attractive” and to develop “career paths for childcare staff”.

These commitments are welcome and a long term plan is essential, but we are in the middle of a crisis.

We need action now.

As a first step to professional pay scales, the Living Wage, currently €12.30 per hour, should be an absolute minimum for our sector.

This would increase pay for over over 60% of Early Years Professionals.

In the meantime, Government have an opportunity to protect pay as part of the new funding arrangement for September.

That is why SIPTU is calling for government funding to guarantee wages.

This evening in Dáil Éireann these issues and the future of Early Years will be debated between 9.20pm and 11.20pm. You can follow the debate here.

Contracts, Negotiation & Agreement

As services reopen your employer may seek changes to your employment policies and procedures at work.

These should always be negotiated and agreed between employers and employees and your union, as stated in the Government’s Return to Work Safely Protocol (see page 5).

If you need advice or representation, please contact the confidential SIPTU helpline at 01–9617100 or email

The helpline is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm

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