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Early years educators experiencing burnout

Early years educators working in childcare facilities have reported high levels of stress and burnout according to a new study.

The survey of over 1,000 SIPTU members showed that almost 70% of respondents identified stress and burnout as their biggest work challenge.

When asked about the primary drivers of this stress, staff shortages was the top reason followed by the intensity of the job and financial pressures due to low pay.

Just under 16% of respondents expressed confidence that they would remain in early years education within the next year if current conditions persist.

Low pay was identified as the primary reason for potential departures, followed closely by stress and burnout.

At a conference in Dublin today, SIPTU will urge policymakers and stakeholders to work together to address chronic staffing shortages in the early years sector.

Speaking in advance of the conference, SIPTU Head of Organising Darragh O’Connor said without significant improvements in working conditions, particularly regarding staffing levels and pay, an all-out staffing crisis will continue.

“Qualified early years educators simply don’t see a long term career for themselves in the sector. This will jeopardise the well-being of young children and the future of the sector itself,” Mr O’Connor said.

“That’s why we are launching our campaign to fight for €15 as the minimum for all workers in the early years sector,” he added.

Childcare providers have previously described such pay levels as wholly unaffordable and have warned that they may have to increase fees for parents to cover pay rises that go beyond the rate of inflation.

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