A significant gender pay gap has been exposed by an Oireachtas report on the early years sector.
The IMPACT Trade Union is concerned an ongoing lack of state investment continues to worsen the existing problem of low pay for workers in the sector – 98% of whom are women.
Thereport shows the average rate of pay for early educators is €10.27 per hour.
The report highlighted the mounting pressures on early years workers and said that there is currently a “crisis” in the sector.
The report said that it is evident that there is an increasing burden of administration work for staff without commensurate adequate time, pay or resources to deal with these factors.
“This is resulting in mounting stress and pressure on staff who are working at the same time with very young children,” the report said.
“The reality of poor wages, along with many staff having to sign on for social welfare during the summer months, makes it almost impossible for many to stay in the sector; even though many are qualified to degree level.”
Responding to the publication, IMPACT organiser Lisa Connell said those working in the sector cannot financially afford to remain within it.
“It’s problematic for children and also those working in the sector,” said Ms Connell.
“We need to create more favourable and sustainable working conditions for all those working in the sector and improve the quality of services for children,” she added.