SIPTU has called on the Government to ensure that any childcare scheme established to provide for the care of the children of frontline staff must fully adhere to advice from HSE on how to limit the spread of infection among childcare workers. SIPTU Head of Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’ Connor, said: “A report in the Irish Times today (Tuesday, 24th March) on the redeployment of Early Years educators to the homes of frontline staff stated that ‘many Early Years educators are ready to support front-line workers with childcare needs. However, the provision of childcare, whether it is based in a service or a home, must be determined by advice from HSE on how to limit the spread of infection’. Some Early Years educators have underlying heath conditions or are living with elderly parents. Participation in such a scheme must be genuinely voluntary for staff who should have access to union advice and representation.” He added “Early Years educators, on average, earn below the Living Wage. No childcare scheme can be based on poverty wages. Appropriate rates of pay should be agreed with SIPTU representatives and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for this vital work.”