Continued indecision, combined with soaring costs, is threatening the viability of hundreds of ECCE providers
The government must provide clarity to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) sector about the level of core funding they will receive in the autumn, according to Social Democrats Children Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.
“Many ECCE-only providers are finishing up next week and are still none the wiser about the new core funding model that is supposed to be in place by September.
“As ECCE-only providers operate in tandem with the school year, they must have certainty in advance of the new school term in September. Remarkably, no details about how this core funding model will work have been issued by the Minister.
“This uncertainty extends to pay rates within the sector as operators do not know what level of pay they can offer their employees. A draft Employment Order for the sector has been issued but it is not yet finalised nor signed into law. An Employment Order must be signed into law before contracts can be issued to providers. All of this will take time and clarity is urgently needed now, before the summer recess.
“A key issue facing the sector is the fact that funding from the current Transition Fund, which replaced the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (SWSS) in April, is based on September 2021 costs for providers. However, inflation has increased by approximately 8% since then, which the current Transition Fund does not reflect.
“This continued indecision, combined with soaring costs, is threatening the viability of hundreds of ECCE providers. The Minister for Children, Roderick O’Gorman, has delayed long enough. It is now time to provide some overdue clarity.”
22 June, 2022