SIPTU calls for Early Years services to be strictly limited to essential frontline workers

SIPTU representatives today (Friday 8th January) called on government to limit Early Years services to children of essential frontline workers and the most vulnerable children.

Provision of care is only for children of essential frontline workers required to be physically present in their workplace on the days that they are working. This requires both parents to be essential with the exception of single parents.

Head of Strategic Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Early Years educators are genuinely frightened right now. It is impossible to socially distance when caring for children and when the use of facemasks in not mandatory”

“Given the rampant spread of Covid-19 and needing to reduce social contacts, SIPTU is calling on government to limit Early Years to essential frontline workers. The ‘List of Essential Workers’ updated by the Department of an Taoiseach today states that “essential workers are those providing the services below where such services can only be provided in person and cannot be delivered remotely”. Currently non-frontline workers can access childcare service”.

“This action should be implemented together with other protective measures including priority vaccine access, targeted testing and a risk assessment by services”.

O’Connor added “Early Years Educators also need clear and up-to-date evidence from NPHET that childcare setting are safe for workers and children under the current circumstances. They need to see clear action from government that recognises their role as essential frontline workers, including a commitment to introducing sick pay and a premium payment.

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