Having considered the concerns and circumstances of the Childcare sector, Minister Zappone has instructed the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Pobal to authorise payments to childcare services who close during the day of protest on 5 February.
Payments will be made on condition that Childcare Providers find an alternative, suitable date for parents to avail of childcare services in lieu of the day that the Service is closed.
Minister Zappone has always supported better pay for Childcare Professionals.
In 2017 she initiated Programme Support Payments for childcare providers for the first time ever. These payments are to support Providers in doing the administrative work that is required of them. This amounted to €18 million in 2017.
In 2018, she provided Programme Support Payments of €19.4 million.
In 2019 Programme Support Payments rose to €26 million to reflect a particularly challenging year for the Childcare Sector.
For 2020 she has again secured funding of €19.4 million in Programme Support Payments for the Childcare sector.
In addition, she has been very vocal in her support of a Sectoral Employment Order for Childcare Professionals, encouraging them to join a Trade Union as this is the only way to directly influence how much they are paid. Childcare Professionals are not employed by the State and therefore the State cannot determine their pay.
She secured provision of €2.2 million in 2020 for a Sectoral Employment Order Support and Sustainability fund for 2020 in the hope that Unions would apply to the Labour Court for a Sectoral Employment Order for Childcare Professionals. The Unions have not yet done this but the fund remains in place for when that happens, which hopefully will be this year.
This is when the Labour Court makes a recommendation on matters of pay, pension or sick pay for workers in a particular Sector, for example childcare professionals. This is done following a request from a Trade Union or Employers’ organisation. When the recommendation is made, it is signed by the Minister to put the recommendation on a statutory basis. Minister Zappone has always advocated her support for an SEO for Childcare Professionals as a way to achieve better terms and conditions.
The department has received a number of queries from providers and parents relating to this matter. In order to assist everyone affected, the department would like to offer the following information: FAQs on the proposed Early Years protest 5 February 2020.