SIPTU representatives have called for the pay rates of Early Years professionals to keep pace with the Living Wage following the announcement today (Thursday, 20th October) that it is to increase by 95 cents per hour. SIPTU Head of Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “The call comes as the Living Wage Technical group announced the Living Wage is now €13.85 per hour, an increase of 95 cent from 2021.  “Early Years professionals negotiated an historic first pay deal this year. The deal lifted thousands out of poverty pay and established a minimum rate of pay of €13 per hour, 10 cent over the old Living Wage. However, these gains are being eroded by cost-of-living increases. He added: “We need the Government and employers to step up and ensure that rates of pay for Early Years professionals reflect cost of living increases. Otherwise, all the work done to address low pay, high staff turnover and the recruitment and retention crisis in the sector will be undone.”  The next round of pay talks for the Early Years sector are due to begin in early 2023.