Labour Spokesperson on Children Seán Sherlock, TD outlines Labour’s ambitious plan for affordable childcare for all, as part of Labour’s alternative budget for 2019. Measures include halving the cost of childcare, guaranteeing living wages for childcare workers and increasing paternity leave.
Speaking about the plan today;
“Our State has never invested enough in supporting families with young children or workers in the sector. Everybody deserves affordable, quality childcare.”
“We are proposing targeted investment in childcare so that over time we reach a spend of 1% of GDP on Early Years Education as recommended by the OECD.
“We want to see professional wages for workers in the sector, cost control for parents, and certainty for providers.
“We have already outlined how we would move towards a professional wage for workers by starting with a living wage of €11.90 for all staff in the sector in 2019, costing €15m.
“We need to do much more to make affordable, high-quality childcare accessible to all. We are proposing a freeze to overall childcare costs and an increase of the hourly subsidy on €0.50 to between €2.50 – €3.00. This would be worth €5200 (or €100 per week) to parents with children in full-time care.
“In order to support providers, we are also allocating €21.9m for an increase of €5 in the ECCE weekly capitation rates. We recognise that a high-quality childcare sector depends on a skilled workforce with decent pay and fair conditions.”
“Labour previously delivered two weeks of paternity leave, recognising that fathers should have the opportunity to bond with their new-born children.
“We now propose that eight weeks of paid parental leave should be introduced in 2019 following two years of Government inaction. This leave would be shared between both parents, with a use-it-or-lose-it clause built in to prevent mothers from always having to bear the responsibility of parenting during these early years.”
• Increase universal childcare subsidy by €2.50 per hour €93.75m
• Increase the ECCE capitation rate by €5 per week €21.9m
• Introduce 8 weeks of shared, paid parental leave €59.6m
• Introduce a living wage for childcare workers €15m