Comments by the Health Minister that families will have to secure a “dig out” for getting childcare, shows the Government has a "derisory understanding" of the importance of childcare for working parents.
This is the view of Labour Galway City West councillor Niall McNelis, who said that with childcare facilities and creches not scheduled to reopen until 29 June, the Government must work with the Workplace Relations Commission and jointly issue clear guidelines, to employers and employees, for employees who have difficulty returning to work because of childcare issues.
Cllr McNelis said no worker should "lose their job or income" if they cannot return to work because they have children to mind. He said the current situation, where businesses are re-opening, but childcare will not be available for some time is "a perplexing mismatch".
'For working families, childcare is the lifeblood of an inclusive labour market'
When Health Minister, Simon Harris, was challenged on this recently he admitted the situation was "not ideal", before adding: "People will be relying on family and friends in the interim to give a ‘dig out’ while we get back to formally opening crèches and childcare facilities. Under Phase 2 more people can come in and out of your home."
However Cllr McNelis said this has created a situation which endangers workers’ job security and which will impose a strain on working relationships between managers and workers.
“For working families, childcare is the lifeblood of an inclusive labour market," said Cllr McNelis. "The importance of childcare cannot be understated for ensuring high levels of maternal labour market participation, it means households can improve their household income by enabling a second earner to go out and work, and for lone parents, it is the passport to ensuring their economic independence."