A survey of more than 1,977 managers and staff in the Early Years (childcare) sector has indicated that many services may be restricted or face potential closure due to an inability to recruit and retain staff. The Early Years Staffing Survey, which is launched online today (Monday, 22nd August), reveals that 39% of Early Years Educators are actively looking for work outside of their profession with low pay cited as the main reason.  Managers and owners said that challenges recruiting and retaining staff will affect the quality of services (64%), make it difficult to maintain staff to child ratios (56%) and lead to service closure (39%).  Early Years Teacher, Deborah Reynolds, said: “Many services are struggling to hire and hold on to staff because of low pay. Most Early Years Educators earn below the Living Wage of €12.90 per hour and they simply cannot afford to stay in their profession. This is bad for workers, but high staff turnover rates also undermine quality of care for children and the sustainability of services”.  SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Thousands of SIPTU members have been campaigning for better pay and recognition and, in Budget 2022, the Government responded. A new ‘Core Funding’ is to be introduced which will support an historic first pay deal due to be introduced in the coming weeks. The pay deal will raise thousands, of mostly female workers, out of poverty. SIPTU is calling on the Government to build on this foundation in the upcoming budget and recognise the contribution Early Years educators make to the economy, society and the lives of children.” Early Years Staffing and Pay Survey 2022