SIPTU has published research today (Wednesday, 18th November), which indicates that workers employed in the Early Years sector in Ireland are paid far less than their counterparts in other countries. SIPTU Head of Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Using figures from the OECD, the research shows that the average annual salary of ‘pre-primary teachers’ in Ireland is the equivalent of US$22,697. This  is far behind the OECD average of US$38,677 and even below that of Brazil, US$24,785, and Hungary US$24,245. “Not only are Early Years professionals some of the lowest paid workers in Ireland, they are at the bottom of the table when compared to their counterparts internationally. The annual salary for Early Years professionals in Ireland would have to more than double to reach the average of other similar EU countries. According to POBAL, a government funding agency, 60% of Early Years professionals earn below the Living Wage of €12.30 per hour.” Early Years professional and SIPTU Activist, Timms Crotty-Quinlan, said: “Our qualifications, dedication and hard work is simply not recognised and certainly not adequately rewarded. Most Early Years professionals are struggling to make ends meet while starting a family or buying a house are financially impossible. This is driving people out of a profession they love but love doesn’t pay the bills.” Darragh O’Connor added: “The low level of government funding has resulted in poor pay for professionals and high fees for parents. We are calling on Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman, to make good on his promise to address the issue of low pay in the Early Years sector.” To read the full SIPTU report comparing Early Years internationally click here.