SIPTU members employed in the Early Years education sector have welcomed the Government announcement that increased minimum pay rates for Early Years educators and managers will come into force with a new Employment Regulation Order (ERO) on 24th June.

SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “This new ERO for the sector has been agreed, following protracted talks between SIPTU and employer representatives as part of a Joint Labour Committee process. Current minimum rates of pay, for the approximately 30,000 workers in the sector, will increase by approximately 5% and become legally enforceable on 24th June following the announcement of the new ERO by Minister of State Emer Higgins. 

“In addition, under the amended ERO the requirement for three years paid experience for Lead Educators and Managers to become eligible for increased rates has been removed.”   

Lead Early Years Educator in County Wexford and SIPTU activist, Thomas Dowling, said: “While the increase in the minimum rates of pay for Early Years workers is welcome it is long overdue and does not go far enough to recognise the role Early Years educators and managers play in children’s development. High-quality Early Years education and care during children’s formative years gives them the best start in life.

“To achieve the best outcomes for children, Ireland needs a stable Early Years workforce that is paid a wage commensurate with their qualification levels and experience. SIPTU is calling for full transparency concerning employers’ financial situations. We are also calling on the Government to provide the funding to support the introduction of professional minimum rates of pay in the sector.”  

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Diane Jackson, said: “The parties to the Joint Labour Committee must reconvene as soon as possible to begin the pay talks on a third pay deal. The wages of Early Years educators and managers must increase considerably to match pay rates for comparable workers in other sectors. She said the Early Years sector is losing experienced and qualified staff to other sectors such as education and public administration and the only way to address this is to introduce competitive wages in Early Years.”

SIPTU, the Early Years Union, represents educators and managers working in both childcare and afterschool settings. 

For more information about the rates of pay please click here.