Protest Information for Professionals and Providers

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Effective Date — 15.01.2020

The Early Years Alliance is an umbrella group consisting of the Association of Childhood Professionals, the Federation of Early Childhood Providers, the National Childhood Network, the National Community Forum, Seas Suas and SIPTU.

These organisations have proposed a National Day of Protest for Early Years services and staff, on Wednesday, 5th February 2020.

This document has been prepared to provide information to providers and educators who would like to support the protest.

The proposed action is a protest and not a strike, so those choosing to attend should be aware of the legal definitions of this and consider this when making their decision. It is recommended that they take advice from their relevant organisation.

What do I need to consider if I decide to close?

· Each service must determine for themselves whether they will open or close on the day.

· Closing a service to attend a protest is a joint decision between employers and staff. This needs to be done with the agreement of both parties. Staff cannot leave work without permission, similarly employers cannot instruct staff to attend a protest.

Steps to take if you decide to close

· Inform parents as soon as possible to enable parents make alternative arrangements.

· If the service provider decides to close, staff should be paid. Any other arrangements must be by agreement between the staff and the employer.

· Fees charged to parents may need to be refunded, this will be decision between service provider and parents

Funding

· All services considering closing should refer to the latest POBAL Compliance Guide for Providers and seek guidance from County Childcare Committee.

· All services receiving programme funding should submit adjusted calendars to their POBAL stating a change to their operating days. For ECCE programmes and alternative day may be arranged. CCSP/U, TEC, CCSR/T programme services should operate as normal for the remaining 4 days of the week of the closure.

· For services where staff are attending, and who hope to use relief staff on the protest day, they should remember that regulations continue to apply, and all relief staff must hold a relevant qualification and current Garda Vetting.

· Any other queries in relation to funding and compliance, please refer back to your County Childcare Committee.

What do I need to consider if I am an employee and want to attend the protest?

· If the service is closing, you are free to attend the protest.

· If the service is not closing, you must come to an agreement with the employer. The employer is not obliged to pay you should you request time off.

· The Early Years Alliance partners recommend that services do their best to maintain positive relationships with staff and endeavour to come to agreements that suit both services and teams.

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