There is a need for a transformative solution, such as a fully publicly funded universal system.
Fórsa has said the future of the Irish workplace is being shaped by how working families with young children are currently forced to weigh the cost of childcare against entering or returning to the workplace.
The union’s general secretary and president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Kevin Callinan said measures announced in today’s Budget, to reduce childcare costs by 25%, will help many families, but he said many families would still be left with “near impossible” choices about the offset of childcare costs against work.
He said childcare warrants a more radical approach than what was announced today and demands a permanent and radical solution to be truly transformative, such as a fully publicly funded universal system.
“While the broader package of cost-of-living measures is welcome, reflecting the efforts of unions to impress upon the Government the need for such measures, childcare needs more than a temporary crisis intervention.
There is a logic to being both ambitious and radical when it comes to solving a problem which the State has lagged on for several decades.
“The Government will argue that in such exceptional times it simply isn’t possible to tackle the demand for a comprehensive State-funded system of childcare.
“There is, however, a logic to being both ambitious and radical when it comes to solving a problem which the State has lagged on for several decades.
“There is a need for a transformative solution, such as a fully publicly funded universal system. This approach would be on a par with the implementation of free secondary education from 1968, a measure that had a transformative effect on Irish society and the economy.
“In 2022, that scale of ambition needs to apply to childcare for working families.
“Failure to tackle childcare comprehensively means a significant block remains to many parents, usually mothers, hoping to enter the workforce or to return to work after having children,” he said.
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