Labour is standing up for families – Burton
This morning Labour formally launched its plan for quality and affordable childcare.
‘Standing Up For Families’ commits to introducing low-cost, quality childcare for all under 12s, to dramatically increase the level of spending on early years education and childcare, and to develop a skilled childcare workforce with decent pay and fair conditions.
Tanaiste Joan Burton launched the plan today along with Waterford Deputy Ciara Conway and Kildare South Councillor Mark Wall. Specifically, the plan will:
• Cap childcare costs for parents at €4.25 per hour, or €170 per week;
• Progressively increase the state subsidy so that the cost parents pay is reduced to no more than €2 per hour by 2021;
• Increase paid parental leave by three months, to be shared between both parents
• Transform the quality of early years care and education with greater funding for providers with highly qualified staff;
• Provide all staff working with children with one hour of paid time each week to plan their work.
Speaking at the launch of ‘Standing Up For Families’ at Labour’s Campaign HQ this morning, Tanaiste Joan Burton said: “As the economy continues to recover, Labour wants to help more parents into work. To do that, we need to make childcare easily available and more affordable than it is now.
“For many families, the availability of affordable childcare will allow them to make important choices for themselves and their children. It will allow them to decide on the work-life balance which suits them best. It will allow them a real choice in how they care for their children. This is good for children and it is good for parents.”
Waterford TD Ciara Conway added: “As a parent myself, I understand only too clearly the pressures that families come under when it comes to childcare.
“Last year, Joan Burton asked me to chair a working group within the Labour Party to come up with a plan for quality and affordable childcare. The report that the group produced was presented to the party policy committee and has formed the backbone of the proposals that we are publishing today.
“We in Labour believe that there needs to be appropriate investment by the state in our youngest children. Investment in early education and care is not only crucial for the future development of the child but it also facilitates parents, especially mothers, either to remain in or take up employment.”
Cllr Mark Wall, Kildare South, stated: “All the evidence shows that children perform best when they remain at home with their parents for their first 12 months. Labour’s proposal to extend parental leave by 3 months – to be shared by both parents – recognises this, by ensuring that every child can be cared for by their parents for the first 9 months of life. We will increase this to 12 months within the next ten years.”
“Labour recognises that fathers should have the opportunity to bond with their new-born children. The proposed 3-month extension to parental leave also recognises this, as does the imminent introduction in September of two weeks of paternity leave, which we fought for and delivered in Government.”
Link to Labour’s Childcare plan – http://labr.ie/1QpK8hi