In response to Mary Minihan’s article “Bruton argues against Burton sick pay plans” (Irish Times 13/07/12) please see below for the full text of the letter to the editor, sent by Irene Gunning, Early Childhood Ireland CEO.
Sir, - Bravo to Minister for Jobs arguing against Minister Joan Burton’s sick pay proposal and highlighting why this proposal to have employers pay for the first two to four weeks of illness doesn’t make sense, especially for small businesses, as reported by Mary Minihan today.
Like Minister Bruton, we are strongly against this sick pay proposal which would be absolutely disastrous for the early childhood care and education sector where preschools and daycare centres nationally operate under strict ratios of adults to children. When someone calls in sick to a preschool, unlike an office setting, the service to young children can’t continue under a skeleton staff.
Furthermore, the rate of absenteeism in the childcare sector will not go down as a result of this proposal. While absenteeism is an issue, it is not because childcare workers are abusing the system, rather because coughs, colds and tummy bugs are more prevalent when working with the under 6 age group and staff members, like children, are asked not to come in when they are sick.
Minister Burton’s proposed scheme will force small employers in this sector to pay twice for the same work. Its introduction would close services and put more people on the dole. Thankfully Minister Bruton knows this and we await a meeting with Minister Joan Burton to convince her to drop this flawed proposal.
Irene Gunning, CEO
Early Childhood Ireland
Belgard Square South, Tallaght, Dublin 24
You too can have your say on this issue by completing the survey – Can Early Childhood Employers Cover the Cost of Sick Pay?
The survey should take around 5 minutes and is completely anonymous. We need as many responses as possible and we urge you to take action today and complete this survey, rather than assuming that someone else will.