Is everyone clear on where they stand when the new pay rates for the ECEC sector come into effect on September 15th 2022?
Judging by conversations which are happening among educators on some social media platforms and sector groups, not everyone, whether they be provider or educator is clear on exactly how the new rates will apply to them.
This is Not Optional
Firstly, it is important to clarify, that payment of the ERO rates is not an optional choice, it is a mandatory legal requirement. Therefore, employers and providers cannot say no if the educator is entitled to the rate of pay outlined in the ERO under their role profile or job description.
This is where another grey area of confusion seems to be emerging. It seems that not all educators have job descriptions or role titles which fully reflect the entirety of the role they are performing in reality.
What is Your Role Title?
From my own personal experience, when I first started working in the ECEC sector, I did not have a contract or a formal job description for some time. The issue of role profiles and clear job descriptions for ECEC has long been highlighted as an issue related to professional recognition of the sector. It would seem that this issue may be further compounded by the confusion arising out of the ERO.
Even when the ERO rates are laid out in black and white on paper, there are so many different role titles throughout the sector that it may be difficult to ascertain exactly where some educators current roles fit.
The ERO rates which will come into effect from next week, September 15th are:
€13 for Early Years Educators/School-Age Childcare practitioners
€14 for Early Years Lead Educators /School-Age Childcare co-ordinators
€15.50 Graduate Early Years Lead Educators /School-Age Childcare co-ordinators
€15.70 for Deputy Managers
€16.50 for Managers
€17.25 for Graduate Managers
The big problem I can see here is that I don’t think many educators have role titles which reflect the ERO details above. What even is a School-Age Childcare Coordinator? Common sense tells me what the role is, but presumptions are dangerous things. People need to know exactly what their role is called in light of the ERO rates of pay to understand where they fit and what they are entitled to.
There are also issues related to ECEC settings and rooms where there may be more than one graduate – if only one graduate lead educator gets €15.50, where does that leave the other graduate educators? Are they considered a lead educator? If not, what’s the point in being a graduate if every graduate isn’t entitled to the same minimum rate? Also, do deputy managers with or without a degree receive the same rate? Lot’s of gaps seem to be appearing that need to be filled and clarified.
Action needs to be taken and fast. Role profiles need to be consistent and streamlined right across the sector to reflect both the ERO and the Nurturing Skills workforce plan to ensure clarity, transparency and professional status.
About the Author:
Paula Walshe is an ECEC trainer and placement assessor in the further education and training sector and a freelance writer. She currently holds a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education and will complete her studies for a Master’s Degree in Leadership for ECEC in 2022. Paula has extensive ECEC experience in both pedagogical practice and ECEC management. You can learn more about Paula’s work at her website (www.thedigitalearlychildhoodeducator.ie), where she writes a weekly blog on current topics in Early Childhood Education and Care in Ireland and provides useful professional and academic resources for students and professionals in this sector. LinkedIn: Paula Walshe / Twitter: @digitalearlyed / Instagram: @digitalearlychildhoodeducator
Paula has co-founded a Twitter community of practice page and podcast @ECEQualityIrl – focussing on sharing ideas and knowledge on all things quality, pedagogy and professional practice in ECEC in Ireland.
You can listen to the most recent ECE Quality Ireland podcast here.