Almost three-quarters of childcare workers are banking on a pay rise in the “historic” new pay deal, with an increase of 10 to 20 percent

Almost three-quarters of childcare workers are set for a pay rise after a “historic” new collective agreement was signed today.

The agreement provides for legally binding minimum wages of up to EUR 17.25 per hour to apply to 27,000 employees from next week.

Half of workers’ wages are expected to rise by 10 percent or more, while one-fifth of workers’ wages are expected to rise by at least 20 percent.

The government’s new “core” funding scheme for the sector means providers must commit to freezing fees for parents in exchange for an increase in funding to support services and wages from September 15.

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English said he had today adopted proposals for new regulations regulating early years employment.

The employment law ordinances provide for the first minimum wages for activities in the field of early childhood education and childcare.

It is estimated that 73 percent of staff working in early childhood education and childcare will receive a pay rise after the deal.

The pay rises will be supported by a €221 million government “core funding scheme” announced by Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman in the last budget.

The new minimum remuneration rates range from 13 euros for school-age educators to 17.25 euros for qualified managers.

Head educators and school-age childcare coordinators are entitled to €14 per hour, while the principle for educators and school-age childcare coordinators is €15.15 per hour.

The minimum rate for deputy managers is €15.17 per hour, for managers €16.50.

“I am delighted to approve these labor orders which start on September 15,” Minister English said.

“The proposals presented to me apply to approximately 27,000 staff and are a welcome endorsement of the importance of the work of everyone involved in early childhood education and care.”

Siptu members welcomed the establishment of the Employment Regulation Ordinance.

Deborah Reynolds, an early childhood education teacher and Siptu activist, said the signing of the Employment Ordinance was a historic day for the profession.

“After years of campaigning, we finally have our first contract,” she said.

“Thousands of early childhood professionals will experience a pay rise that will end poverty wages and put us on the path to professional pay and recognition.”

She said the profession is 98 percent female.

“We raise and care for tens of thousands of children every day, but our job was one of the lowest paid jobs in Ireland,” she said.

So far, the majority of educators have earned less than the living wage of 12.90 euros per hour.

Siptu’s head of organization, Darragh O’Connor, said low wages created a staffing crisis in the early years as services struggled to recruit and retain staff.

“This collective agreement and future salary increases mean that early childhood education professionals can plan for the long term to remain in their learned profession,” he said.

He said the average hourly wage for an educator with QQI Level 5 qualification will increase from $12.00 to at least $13 an hour.

Furthermore, he said that the average hourly wage for a kindergarten teacher with a QQI level 8 is €13.21 per hour. “This will go up to at least €15.50 an hour,” he said.

“This is our first salary deal, not our last,” he said. “The campaign for recognition, respect and professional pay and conditions will continue.”

Secretary O’Gorman said that the pay and conditions of school-age educators and childcare workers must reflect the importance of their work. “Today’s announcement is a historic first step in that direction,” he said.

He said low pay and conditions and limited advancement opportunities have made it difficult to attract and retain staff and it is staff who are key to the quality of children’s experiences.

“Through these first labor orders for the sector, I hope that school-age educators can now see a real future in a profession that brings so much to children, their families and society in general,” he said.

“I would like to recognize the independent nature of the process of the Labor Court and the Joint Working Committee and the hard work of its members in negotiating the pay and conditions of early childhood education and childcare workers.”

The government program pledged to support the establishment of a joint working committee in the childcare sector and the drafting of an employment regulation.

A total of €138 million has been included in core funding to improve pay rates across all sector functions and a further €38 million is a ‘graduate award’ for senior educators and managers. Almost three-quarters of childcare workers are banking on a pay rise in the “historic” new pay deal, with an increase of 10 to 20 percent

Fry Electronics Team

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