SIPTU representatives have today (Monday, 2nd September) called for the establishment of a Living Wage Fund for workers in the childcare sector as part of Budget 2020, in order to ensure an increase in the number of quality services for children. SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Yesterday (Sunday, 1st September), it was reported that Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone is seeking to establish the Living Wage of €12.30 per hour as the minimum payment for workers in the childcare sector. Such a move has the support of SIPTU and the thousands of union members in the sector. “The childcare sector is in the middle of a low pay crisis. A reported 94% of educators struggle to make ends meet and 51% are actively looking for a job in a different sector. Educators in the childcare sector earn on average just €11.18 per hour, while thousands earn just over the minimum wage of €9.80 per hour. Unsurprisingly, staff turnover is at 25% per annum, a situation which is severely undermining the quality of services in the sector.” He added: “The Government must support quality childcare for children and parents. A crucial step is to support the payment of a Living Wage for qualified and skilled educators, many of whom are being forced to leave a job they love because of inadequate rates of pay.”