Early Years Sector needs clarity on pay and conditions

Seán Sherlock TD
04 February 2021

Labour TD for Cork East and member of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children & Youth Affairs Seán Sherlock has called on the government to provide clarity on pay and conditions for Early Years Educators and Childcare Workers following the completion of the report into the sector.

Today in the Dáil, Deputy Sherlock lent the support of the Labour Party to the national virtual day of action taking place tomorrow in the sector.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“We have sight of the survey that took place in relation to the Early Years Sector that shows 22% of early years educators earn more than the living wage of €12.30 per hour. 90% of all professional’s struggle to make ends meet with difficulty or great difficulty.

“I just want to recognise that there is a virtual day of action this Friday and we in the Labour Party want to acknowledge that and give it our support.

“We need to know if the contents of the forthcoming report into the sector will lead to a recommendation of an increase in pay and conditions for workers.

“Workers in the sector need to know the timeframes of implementation of such recommendations, if they are made.”

“It will be about money flowing into the sector and if the government decides that it will improve the pay conditions, the question arises as to the balance of the onus. Is the onus on the employer or is the onus on the government to fund the sector direct, via the schemes, into improving those pay and conditions?”

“We await now with interest the outcome of the discussions on the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee for the sector which the Labour Party has long called for.”


Notes to Editors – recent Dáil Question on a JLC for the early years sector.

QUESTION For Written Answer on : 03/02/2021

To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth the actions he has taken to date to progress the establishment of a joint labour committee in the early childhood care and education sector. Sean Sherlock TD


In December 2020, working in partnership with SIPTU and Childhood Services Ireland (within IBEC), I began a short process in which interested parties were invited to discuss how best to address issues of pay and conditions in the sector and how a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) might support this. I appointed Dr Kevin Duffy, former Chair of the Labour Court, to be an independent chair for this process.

The group has met three times in the last six weeks, and held its final meeting on 1 February. Discussions examined the nature of a JLC process and its relevance to the early learning and care and school-age childcare sector, and also explored what other mechanisms might be available to support improvements in wages and working conditions in the sector. Dr Duffy will shortly be reporting to me outlining the issues and possible solutions raised in the process, and making a recommendation on next steps.  

While a number of important steps lie ahead, the commitment already shown by organisations that participated in the process to find a solution to issues arising is very welcome.

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