The latest POBAL Early Years report shows that low pay and high staff turnover continue to undermine quality in the Early Years sector. But Early Years professionals are now joining SIPTU in big numbers and have a plan to change things for the better.
Last week the POBAL released the ‘Early Years Sector Profile Report’. It didn’t make for good reading.
On average Early Years educators earn just €11.20 per hour. This is 70c below the Living Wage or €4,229 per year less than the entry point recommended in the recent Mercer pay scale report.
The underpayment is even worse for managers who earn on average just €14.99 per hour, or €9,517 per year less than the Mercer recommended starting point for the job.
It’s well established that low pay and high staff turnover are directly linked to quality outcomes for children.
But in Ireland 57% of providers report that they have had difficulty in recruiting suitable qualified staff and the staff turnover stands at 24.7% per year.
Yes, we welcome the governments drive to improve quality, but it’s being undermined by low pay and high staff turnover.
We need a plan.
The Plan — Sectoral Employment Order
Only government can make the investment needed to significantly improve pay.
However, government need an assurance that increased funding will go towards pay. That’s why the Minister for Children has repeatedly stated her support for a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO).
An SEO is a legal mechanism that can set minimum hourly rates of pay for managers, room leaders and educators; provided there is adequate funding.
Let’s be clear; providers cannot pay what they don’t have. Increased pay is dependent on increased government funding.
So What’s Next?
Once 1/3 of Early Years staff join SIPTU we can establish an SEO. To the thousands who have already joined up, a big thank you; we are almost halfway there.
By joining SIPTU and encouraging others to do so, we can win decent pay scales. By campaigning together we can win the government funding so providers can afford it.
If you want to find out more or have any queries please contact 01 858 6365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.