Joint call from NICMA and Unite for extended support to Registered Childminders as survey highlights downturn to incomes across sector

Extensive survey of Registered Childminders identifies large loss of earnings across the board with almost two-thirds not having returned to operating capacity

Northern Ireland Child Minding Association (NICMA) and Unite issue joint demand for extension to Childcare Recovery Support scheme and establishment of a contingency fund to replace lost income

Trade union Unite, which represents Registered Childminders, working in cooperation with the Northern Ireland Child Minding Association (NICMA), provided Minister Peter Weir with results of a survey of workers in the sector.  

The research highlighted the huge impact that the Covid pandemic has had on revenues to Registered Childminders. Almost 65 percent of respondents indicated they were not back to full capacity and more than 70 percent said that they had lost children from their enrolment as a result of the pandemic. 

One quarter of childminders said they had lost three or more children from enrolment equating to a loss of between £60 and £105 per day prior to other costs and overheads being taken in to consideration. 

Responding to the results Patricia Lewsley-Mooney of NICMA said,

“It’s important that Minister Weir understands that Registered Childminders were the lynchpin and provided the majority of the childcare during the previous lockdown, often under capacity, with little help or recognition from Government.

“It is therefore vital that registered Childminders are included in any future funding package and treated fairly and equitably and not as an add on. This survey shows that 65% of Registered Childminders are still not up to full capacity, this proposal will go some way in supporting the sector to survive over the coming months, to ensure that there will be the capacity needed when parents eventually return to work.”

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, said the survey presented irrefutable evidence that Registered Childminders were suffering a significant loss of income as a result of the Covid pandemic. She reiterated the demands of the sector:

“This research paints a stark image of the impact of Covid on the incomes of Registered Childminders. The NI Executive must now continue the Childcare Recovery Support scheme which provides £300 per month to Registered Childminders beyond October to the end of the year, with a further extension should the pandemic impact into 2021”, she said.

Caroline Rice, childcare worker and Unite Registered Childminder branch secretary called for action from the NI Executive.

“We are calling for the establishment of a contingency fund for loss of earnings. Unite and NICMA are seeking £400 per week for each Registered Childminder and Assistants for loss of earnings during a shutdown. Where income is lost as a result of children unable to attend settings due to the need for self-isolating that lost income is reimbursed at 50% per child to reduce the financial burden on parents.”

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