Building on our Member’s Survey, Early Childhood Ireland has been very vocal in highlighting the potential negative impact on childcare services if proposed sick leave reforms are carried through.
In response, to our survey findings Joan Burton has insisted that crèches and preschools will not be shut down by her sick leave reforms and that any changes will not apply to companies employing fewer than 100 workers. (Independent Article Joan Burton insists creches won’t be shut down by reforms 07/08/12)
While this reassurance is very welcome it fails to understand the pattern of early childhood care and education provision in Ireland. There has been a significant growth in the number of multiple-site settings, that deliver a broad range of full time and part time services to thousands of families and are employing between 100 and 400 staff. These services provide care and education for children and their families and are subject to the same rules and regulations as smaller services. These larger services cannot be discriminated against, they create significant numbers of jobs in the sector, support thousands of parents participate in the labour market and provide care and education to our youngest citizens every day.
Early Childhood Ireland welcomes the Ministers reassurance that the childcare sector will not suffer under any sick pay proposal but we are calling for this commitment to cover the larger services that employ in excess of 100 staff.
Remember Early Childhood Ireland’s recent survey found that:
Ninety seven per cent of childcare and education providers said that they could not afford to pay for sick leave. This is due to the fact replacement staff would need to be brought in for the sick employees, in order to keep ratio’s in line with the childcare regulations.
Over half of the survey respondents stated that they would have to close down their service if they were required to pay the first months sick pay for absentee staff
Thirty seven per cent of childcare services would have to make staff redundant as a consequence of the sick pay proposal being implemented.