SIPTU Head of Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’Connor, said: “We need a professionalised childcare sector where the needs of children are the top priority. This would result in workers having more confidence to blow the whistle on poor practices in the sector.
 
“This point was made today by Alan Farrell, the chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Children and Youth Affairs, which discussed issues raised by the recent Primetime Investigates documentary concerning one child care provider.
 
“Early Years educators earn just €11.18 per hour on average and few have sick pay, maternity leave or other basic entitlements. Such precarious economic circumstances can leave workers feeling unable to adequately voice concerns related to standards and practices in their workplaces. It has also resulted in a staff turnover in the sector of 24% per year.”
 
He added: “We need to reform childcare funding to ensure that the need of children and the provision of quality care and education is the top priority, not the pursuit of profit.”