The Labour Party recognises there is a crisis in the childcare sector and has placed increased supports for parents and workers at the heart of its Alternative Budget for 2020.
Unveiling the measures today, Labour by-election candidate for Dublin Fingal, Cllr Duncan Smith commented:
“Working families are being hammered by crippling childcare costs, with the OECD recently ranking Ireland among the worst offenders in Europe for its’ record on childcare supports.
“At the same time, workers in the sector are being undervalued through low pay and a lack of security, resulting in a high turnover of staff and leading to uncertainty for providers.
“In our Alternative Budget for 2020, Labour is proposing a suite of measures that would invest a further €125m in childcare and see paid parental leave increase by two weeks.
“This includes increasing the hours in the National Childcare Scheme for lone parents and low-income families, increasing the universal subsidy from 50c to €2, and a €5 increase in the ECCE capitation.
“Our proposals would reduce the costs to parents by over €3,000 a year or an additional €60 a week, while ensuring that funding is ringfenced to cover the extra time lone parents need for picking up their children.
“We would also ensure all childcare workers earn at least the Living Wage of €12.30/hour through an increase in funding to providers, and seek the implementation of an Employment Regulation Order to set a floor on wage rates.
“Labour understands the value of allowing both parents time to bond with their babies, and we would introduce an additional two weeks of paid parental leave, meaning a combined four weeks extra for a couple.
“Childcare costs often play a major role for women when deciding whether to go back to work after having a baby and if we want to achieve a truly equal society, we need to have a high-quality, affordable childcare sector.”