SIPTU has welcomed the introduction of a scheme to support the childcare sector during the Covid-19 emergency, the details of which were released yesterday (25th March). SIPTU Head of Organising, Darragh O’Connor said: “Even before the Covid-19 emergency the child care sector was in the middle of a staffing crisis with turnover averaging 23% and 40% in full day services. This was driven by low pay as most workers earned below the Living Wage. As childcare professionals were being laid off with no pay dur to coronavirus, there was a real possibility they would seek alternative employment and not return to their profession when services re-open. This would compound the staffing crisis and risk the sustainability of services.” “The Covid-19 Childcare Scheme covers wage costs of the childcare sector, guarantees that parents don’t have to pay fees and supports employers with a 15% top up. While the scheme has helped to deal with the immediate concerns of childcare workers number of issues have been raised with SIPTU representatives about its effect on the sustainability of services. The union is discussing these concerns with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.”