The SIPTU Big Start Campaign has said that the ‘Early Years Sector Profile Report’ by the State funding agency POBAL, which was published today (Monday, 16th December), has revealed that low pay continues to plague the childcare profession. SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’Connor, said: “The POBAL report clearly shows that the childcare sector is in the middle of a low pay crisis. Early Years educators are earning on average just €11.46 per hour, this is 84 cent below the Living Wage of €12.30 per hour. “The POBAL report shows that 56% of childcare staff earn less that the Living Wage. Unsurprisingly, research published earlier this year by SIPTU, showed that 94% of Early Years workers struggle to make ends meet, while 83% are unable to meet unexpected expenses.“Low pay is resulting in a staff turnover rate of 23% per annum. This is undermining the quality of services for children and the sustainability for parents.” He added: “Childcare professionals need a pay deal. They need to be recognised and rewarded for their work. Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, recognises this and has established a fund to support services. However, we are calling for adequate government investment so that every childcare professional earns at least the Living Wage in 2020. This must be the first step towards a professional pay scale.”