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Minister English establishes Joint Labour Committee for the Early Years Service Sector

Terms and conditions of employment for childcare to be set

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, has formally accepted the recommendation of the Labour Court for the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) for the Early Years’ Service sector. Giving effect to this recommendation, the Minister has signed an establishment order that shall come into effect on 1st July 2021.

Minister English said, “I welcome the recommendation of the Labour Court and I am happy to announce the establishment of this new Joint Labour Committee which fulfils the Programme for Government commitment to support the establishment of a JLC in the childcare sector.”

JLC’s provide a wage-setting mechanism that determines terms and conditions of employment, as well as setting minimum rates of pay for workers in certain sectors. In the sectors represented, the terms and conditions may be given effect in law by means of Employment Regulation Orders made by the Minister.

“I would encourage bodies representing both employers and employees in this sector to engage with the JLC process as it can yield positive benefits for the sector as a whole. An agreement on a new set of terms and conditions of employment will help maintain and grow the talented pool of people working in the sector as well as providing security and opportunity for career development in the Early Years’ and Childcare sectors.

This JLC resulted from collaboration with Childhood Services Ireland, SIPTU, and the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY), Roderic O’Gorman TD, who initiated the process and appointed Dr Kevin Duffy, the former Chair of the Labour Court as the independent chair of this process.  Dr Duffy concluded that all parties involved 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.

What are JLCs?

A Joint Labour Committee (JLC) is composed of equal numbers of representatives of employers and workers in an employment sector.

The Committee meets under an independent chairman, an Industrial Relations Officer of the Workplace Relations Commission, appointed by the Minister, to discuss and agree proposals for terms and conditions to apply to specified grades or categories of workers in the sector concerned.

Section 41A of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 as amended by the 2012 Industrial Relations Act provides for a 5-yearly review by the Labour Court of Joint Labour Committees.

The first Review was completed by the Labour Court in April 2013 and resulted in the number of JLCs reducing from 10 to 8. The JLCs that were discontinued at that time covered Law Clerks and Hotels in Dublin.

The second Review was commenced by the Labour Court in March 2018 with an invitation for submissions from interested parties in relation to the 8 JLCs in place as to whether they should be retained, abolished or amalgamated with another JLC. The amalgamation of the 2 Catering Sector JLCs was recommended and accepted.

There are 3 JLCs currently active in the sense that relevant representative organisations have nominated members who have been appointed to the JLC and the Committee meets reasonably regularly; in the Contract Cleaning, Hairdressing and Security sectors.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.