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Post Budget 2017 Analysis Part II

October 18, 2016

ECI has long advocated for formal recognition of the considerable amount of additional unpaid work providers and their staff undertake to ensure quality early years experiences for children. Driven by the increasing anger at the lack of paid non-contact time and the growing administrative burden of the multiple schemes in the sector, most recently the roll out of the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM), ECI made non-contact time a central demand of our Pre-Budget Submission. We sought, as a starting point, three additional weeks to support the payment of non-contact time and holiday time. We were delighted to have secured an additional 7 ECCE days in total with no children present to support services with their administrative workloads. You can read more detail about the non-contact time measure in our Budget 2017 Analysis here

We see this as a very positive first step that can be built upon. Obviously, as a measure in isolation and without for example any increase in capitation levels for ECCE, this is not sufficient to address the pay and conditions in the sector nor the developing crisis in attracting and retaining qualified staff to deliver quality services to children. ECI will continue to advocate, at every opportunity, for increased capitation and a ring-fencing mechanism to ensure that sectorial investment is divided equally between staff wages and the sustainability of services. Our next opportunity is tomorrow, Wednesday 19th October, when our ECI delegation of Teresa Heeney, CEO, Dónall Geoghegan, Director of Policy and Communications, and Paula Hilliard, ECI’s representative on the Early Years Forum and member of our Policy and Implementation Panel will present to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs about our priorities for the newly-established ‘Early Years Forum’ and for future investment in the sector.

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