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Children & Youth Affairs Committee report recommends better working Terms & Conditions for early childcare workers - Kathleen Funchion TD

26 July, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

The Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs Union has today published its Report on the Working Conditions of the Early Years Education and Care Sector 2017.

The report shines a light on the working conditions, training needs and pay scales of all those working in the early years sector and, highlights the major areas of concern currently facing the sector in both rural and urban services across all provinces. Meeting these challenges will be crucial to the sustainability of the sector.

In order to compile this report,  Rapporteur, Kathleen Funchion TD, held an extensive series of national outreach meetings with staff  working in the sector, with providers both community and private who serve in the sector, as well as several County Childcare Committee representatives.

There was also significant engagement with trade unions and their early years representatives, who are conducting on-going nation-wide campaigns relating to many of the issues raised throughout this report.

Some key recommendations in the report include:

• Introduce working terms and conditions for staff comparable to those within the wider education system. 
• Commission the development of a nationally agreed pay scale for the early years workforce linked to the Occupational Role Profiles that recognises qualifications, experience and length of service.
• Introduce a system of Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) to recognise and reward the skills base developed by staff working in the sector over a number of years who require formally recognised qualifications. 
• Reduce worker/child ratios from 1:11 to 1:9 – this would assist in early identification of problems and pay off in long run for the state.

Report Rapporteur Kathleen Funchion TD said;

“There has been an ongoing failure to deliver childcare and early education that works for children, families, and those professionals who work in early years’ education. 

"This report aims to provide practical solutions to some of the employment issues facing early childcare providers. The rationale behind the report was to examine a sector which is so crucial to children and their development in order to understand the concerns facing staff in these services and to explore how they could be addressed.

"In order to gain a full picture of this issue I examined employment conditions, wages and other challenges facing this sector and these aspects of the report should be of interest and value to other Committees given the issues they raise.

“The report is the culmination of many months’ of meetings with stakeholders and industry professionals, all of whom emphasised the proven importance of early childhood education and care. It is vital that qualified staff are not forced out of the sector due to poor wages and a lack of training or development for those working with children under three years of age."

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