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26/10/2021

SIPTU chiefs to tell Oireachtas Covid-19 Committee government approach to childcare seriously flawed

Dáil Éireann

An Oireachtas committee is expected to be told tomorrow the Government's approach to childcare is far from ideal

SIPTU representatives will meet the Special Oireachtas Committee on Covid-19 tomorrow (Tuesday, 23rd June) to discuss the issue of childcare for essential health workers during the health crisis.

SIPTU Health Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “In both our submission, SIPTU representatives will highlight several first-hand accounts of the difficulties encountered by essential, frontline health workers in securing childcare arrangements since the outbreak of Covid-19.

“Our members in the health service were genuinely striving to strike a balance where they could ensure their children were cared for while also fulfilling their duties on the frontline of the health service.

"This balance could have been achieved with a focus on greater flexibility including roster change and special leave where other options had been exhausted. Another way forward could have been for the provision of childcare in a safe environment explicitly for healthcare workers.

"This model was used in other countries to ensure essential healthcare workers could get to work, safe in the knowledge their children were being cared for. Instead, the focus was on uniformity, with rigid options only being approved by Government.”

He added: “Ultimately, this seriously flawed and inflexible approach resulted in the depletion of essential healthcare workers from the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 and a financial loss for many of them. We believe these flaws must be addressed and remedied as a matter of priority in advance of any potential second wave.”

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