Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Joint Labour Committees
257. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the position regarding the establishment of a joint labour committee in relation to the childcare sector and the development of an employment regulation order; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17803/21]
The Programme for Government commits to supporting the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) for the early learning and care and school-age childcare sector and the drawing up of an Employment Regulation Order. In December 2020, I began a short process to examine the possibility of regulating the pay and conditions of employment of practitioners in early learning and care and school-age childcare, and to examine the suitability of establishing a JLC. In agreement with IBEC/CSI and SIPTU, I appointed Dr Kevin Duffy, former Chair of the Labour Court, to be the independent chair of this process.
Following a series of meetings that concluded in early February, Dr Duffy has now submitted his report on the process. The report concludes that all parties agreed that the establishment of a JLC is the most appropriate means by which pay and conditions of employment in the sector can be addressed.
On foot of this, I have written to the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, recommending the establishment of a JLC for the sector. If established, a JLC would provide an opportunity for relevant parties to engage in negotiations on an Employment Regulation Order which could ultimately establish binding rates of pay and conditions for the sector.
Under the Industrial Relations Act 1946, the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail has the power to apply to the Labour Court for the establishment of a JLC, and it is the statutory role of the Labour Court to determine the appropriateness of establishing a JLC in a given sector.