A new pay agreement that will increase earnings and provide a new wage structure for early learning and childcare workers in Kildare, alongside a commitment to freeze parental fees, has been approved as part of Government’s €221m Core Funding Scheme, Fine Gael Kildare South TD and Minister of State Martin Heydon has said.

Minister Heydon said: ‘I welcome the approval of these Employment Regulation Orders that work to deliver improved rates of pay and conditions for the large majority of those working in the sector, while also making childcare a more attractive career path for those in Kildare considering it for the future.

“The orders take effect on the 15th of September and establish new minimum hourly rates of pay for the various roles in the Early Years Services Sector– applying to some 27,000 staff across the state. An estimated 73% of those working in the sector will see their wages rise as a result of the Employment Regulation Orders, with 20% of employees seeing their wages rise by 20% or more.

“I congratulate my colleague Minister Damien English and Minister Roderic O’Gorman in forming the Early Years Services Joint Labour Committee to examine the regulation of pay within the sector– an example of the excellent work that can be done when representatives of employees and employers come together to find a mutually beneficial agreement.

‘Following this weeks announcement, I hope that early years educators and school-age childcare practitioners in Kildare can now see a real future for themselves in a job that gives so much to our youngest throughout the county, to their families and to broader society.

“The job early learning and childcare workers undertake is instrumental, and their pay should reflect the incredible work that they do. This announcement is an historic first step towards that,” Minister Heydon concluded