October 5, 2017
Parents are given more choices when it comes to childcare under budget proposals put forward today by the Social Democrats, the party’s spokesperson on Children, Cllr Jennifer Whitmore, has said.
The party’s Alternative Budget 2018 includes a new Early Years Payment as well as a new 13-week long paid parental leave entitlement.
Speaking today as the party launched its budgetary proposals, Cllr Whitmore said: “When it comes to bringing up young children parents need to be given more choices, and our proposals are about providing these.
“Each child and each family are different, and families need flexibility and choice to provide the best care for their children. It is not unusual for parents to use different childcare settings, depending on the ages of their children, and our proposals reflect this reality.
“Our Early Years Payment would be €50 per month per child for children aged from 9 months until entry to pre-school. Parents would be given the choice of receiving it, or, alternatively, claiming assistance under the existing Affordable Childcare Scheme which covers crèche costs.
“This means that stay-at-home parents or parents using informal child care arrangements would become eligible for a payment, which reflects the reality that having young children means costs for parents whether they care for them at home or in a more formal setting.”
Cllr Whitmore added:
“The introduction of 13 weeks paid parental leave is also about allowing parents to choose, as it would be available to either parent. We see it as the first phase in ultimately raising parental leave entitlement to cover the first year of a child’s life.
“We would also extend the right to unpaid parental leave to those parents who wish to avail of it and we have already published a Bill to give effect to this.”
The 13 weeks of paid parental leave is costed at €65m in 2018, while the Early Years Payment is costed at €80million. Both payments are part of a €580 million package of measures in the Social Democrats’ Alternative Budget which aim to drive down the cost of living.
The party also proposes an additional €20 million in direct funding to the childcare sector to help improve employment conditions and training, as well as sustainability.
5th October 2017