Mercer Recommendatations Re: Remuneration Terms for the Early Years Workforce Nov 2018

 

  1. OVERVIEW
  • In 2017 Mercer was commissioned by the National Childhood Network (NCN) and the Crann Support Group to make recommendations on the appropriate remuneration for Early Years Professionals. Click on the image above to access the report
  • We were provided with background material for this work by the National Childhood Network and Crann Support Group and as part of our research we also engaged with a number of other stakeholders within the early years sector.
  • In order to establish appropriate pay scales we benchmarked the various roles of the Early Years Professionals within centre based services–Early Years Educators, Supervisors/ Room Leaders, Assistant/Deputy Managers, and Managers - using Mercer’s International Position (Role) Evaluation System.  The results of the evaluation were then compared with other comparable roles in the public sector and appropriate pay scales developed.
  • In conjunction with the pay scales, comparable public sector pension arrangements and holiday, sick leave, and study leave should be provided.
  • The new scales will require a substantial increase in Government investment in the sector. It is recognised, therefore, by stakeholders that it is not possible to move immediately to the proposed scales and that an agreed transitional arrangement will be required. The initial priority, therefore, is to develop an agreed minimum starting point for the roles.
  • Implementation, starting with the agreed minimum starting point, should be by way of a Sectoral Employment Agreement (SEO)

  

  1. INTRODUCTION
  • To support the future development of the sector, Mercer have been asked to make recommendations on appropriate remuneration terms for the early years workforce which give recognition to the various roles and responsibilities staff must carry out within centre based services, as well as to their qualifications and experience.
  • We (Mercer) are part of the MMC group of companies which employs over 400 staff in Ireland, mainly in retirement and investment businesses.
  • We are leaders both globally and in Ireland in providing advice to listed companies, private companies, public sector and voluntary organisations on all aspects of organisational design and remuneration.
  • The advice typically includes benchmarking of annual pay and all other aspects of remuneration, bonuses, company pension contributions, holiday entitlement etc.
  • When benchmarking we use the Mercer International Position Evaluation (IPE) System which evaluates (scores) jobs across a range of factors.
  • As well the information provided by the National Childhood Network, the Crann Support Group, the Association for Childhood Professionals and Early Childhood Ireland, which we have reviewed, we have also carried out our own online research including reviewing the policies and practices in other countries.
  • We have also held discussions with different stakeholders within the sector, subsequent to which we have received a remuneration proposal recently developed by the Professionalisation Sub Group of the National Early Years Forum which was established by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

  

3.  BACKGROUND

For the purposes of this Report we have referred to the staff dealing directly with children as Early Years professionals working in centre based services. These professionals provide a range of early year’s services for children aged from 2 years 8 months – 6 years with some services providing for children from 6 months -3 years as well as school age children. They are delivered on a sessional, part-time and full-time basis. Services are owned/managed by independent private operators or by voluntary management committees. A small number of services are owned and managed as part of a chain. Providers/staff in all services must comply with a broad range of legislative and regulatory requirements as well as those required by the DCYA and Pobal.

  • Providers /staff in delivering these services, work to care for and provide a broad range of educational experiences for the children who attend in order to promote their holistic development. It is accepted that these years are critical for the future development of children and a valuable support to families.
  • The delivery of services is fragmented with 4,507 separate units registered with Tusla (Annual Tusla Report 2016) employing approximately 25,000 staff and looking after more than 120,000 children. Funding provided for service delivery derives from a mix of state funding and parental fees.
  • Service providers can access Government funding to subsidise the cost of services to parents through various Government funding schemes which include Community Childcare Subvention (CCS), Community Childcare Subvention Plus (CCSP), Training and Employment Childcare (TEC) and the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme which from September 2018 provides a Pre-school place free to parents for children aged 2 years and 8 months -5 years for three hours per day for 38 weeks of the year.
  • The Early Childhood Care and Education Programme (ECCE) now pays a capitation grant of €69.00 per child to the service provider. Services who employ staff with a level 7 or 8 Degree and who have three years’ work experience receive a higher capitation of €80.25 per child. There is no obligation on the provider to pay the more highly qualified staff member a higher rate of pay.
  • Based on our discussions with the various stakeholders it is clear that Early Childhood Professionals are engaged in delivering services to support families and promote the health, well-being and education of children and that this work should be seen as part of the continuum of providing learning and development services to children through to adulthood. Our recommendations reflect this view.
  1. THE PURPOSE OF BENCHMARKING

 

  • Benchmarking has different purposes depending on the context.
  • In this case the purpose is to develop remuneration terms to support the development and sustainability of the Early Year’s workforce and the delivery of quality early years services.
  • There are two elements to the benchmarking process:
  1. Role Evaluation  (sometimes referred to as Job Sizing)

This is based on a number of factors:

    1. The size of the organisation
    2. The role within the organisation being benchmarked
    3. The ability of staff to make an impact
    4. The communication ability required
    5. The extent of communication – and with whom?
    6. Innovation
    7. Complexity
    8. Knowledge required
    9. Way knowledge is applied
    10. Exposure to mental or physical injury from work conditions and the environment.

  1. Remuneration Benchmarking
  • The Position Class resulting from the Role Evaluation is used to establish the appropriate remuneration – annual pay and other benefits.
  1. DEFINITION OF ROLES

 

  • For the purposes of putting forward our recommendations we have adopted the following definitions:

Early Years Educator

Typically works with between 3 - 11 children ranging in age from infants to  5 year olds. Minimum qualification is QQI Level 5.

Early Years Leader (Supervisor or Room Leader):

Typically works with a group of children and is also responsible for supervising a small number of Early Years Educators.

For leaders in settings delivering the ECCE scheme, a minimum qualification of QQI Level 6 is required for funding purposes. In smaller settings the Leader may also undertake the role of Manager

  

Early Years Assistant /Deputy Manager:

Found in the larger facilities only and typically has a number of specific delegated responsibilities.

 Early Years Manager:

Responsible for the overall operation of the facility, this may include provision for babies, toddlers, pre-school and school age children. The Manager may be the owner of the facility also. Managers in committee managed community services are answerable   to a voluntary board of management.

  • Based on our discussions we are proposing that there should be a common scale for each role regardless of the ages of the children involved.

   

PROPOSED ANNUAL PAY SCALES

Role

IPE Position Class Score

Annual Pay Scale (Based on IPE Position Class Score)

Entry Point (€)

Mid Point (€)

Top of Scale (€)

Early Years Educator

42 - 43

27,000

35,500

44,000

Early Years Supervisor (Room Leader)

45

32,000

46,000

60,000

Early Years Assistant /Deputy Manager

46

34,000

48,000

62,000

Early Years Manager

48

40,000

54,000

68,000




The scales are based on a 39 hour working week, including non contact time, payment should be pro-rata where fewer hours are worked.

  • A comparison with a range of other public sector roles is set out in the Appendix.
  • It is proposed, other than by promotion, that staff move through the pays scales through a combination of experience, participation in professional development training, possibly including obtaining additional qualifications, and satisfactory performance.
  • In conjunction with the pay scales, comparable public sector pension arrangements and holiday, sick leave, and study leave should be provided.
  1. PROPOSED ANNUAL PAY SCALES – IMPLEMENTATION
  • The Association of Childhood Professionals has proposed that there should be increased investment in the sector so that the average wage moves to a living wage – defined as approximately €12 per hour – in the short term and to a professional wage in the next five years.
  • Based on our discussions we believe there is broad support for the above approach while recognising that financing will be an issue.
  • Our recommended scales to provide a professional wage are set out later in this report. These are based on our benchmarking of the roles against roles in the public sector using our benchmarking methodology.
  • It is reasonable to require that persons working in the sector working in a Leader / Supervisory role have an appropriate professional degree as is required for primary school teachers.

    • A minimum requirement of a professional degree for new appointments to the role of Early Years Room Leader and higher roles within a period of, say, 5 years should also be agreed.
    • For current Early Years Educators only accept, for a period of 10 years, a minimum of 5 years’ service in the sector with a QQI Level 6 qualification could be accepted as an alternative to a degree.
    • Reconsider a requirement of a professional degree for Early Years Assistants at a future date.
  • It will be necessary to develop and implement a transition path from the current pay arrangements.
  • In conjunction with the proposed pay scales introduce appropriate pension contribution terms and holiday, sick pay and training terms in line with comparable roles in the public sector.
  • The pay arrangements should be implemented by means of, at least initially, a statutory Sectorial Employment Order.

 

 

APPENDIX – PUBLIC SECTOR COMPARATORS (POST 2011 ENTRANTS WHERE RELEVANT)

Role

IPE Position Class

       Annual Pay

Entry Point (€)

Mid Point (€)

Top of Scale (€)

Care Manager (Hospital)

51

54,463

59,326

62,321

Early Years Manager

48

40,000

54,000

68,000

Social Care Leader

48

45,063

49,631

52,650

Early Years Assistant /Deputy Manager

46

34,000

48,000

62,000

Teacher

45

35,602

54,354

66,869

Early Years Supervisor (Room Leader)

45

32,000

46,000

60,000

Social Care Worker (With Qualification)

45

31,293

38,663

45,306

Nurse

44

28,483

36,402

43,469

Early Years Educator

42 - 43

27,000

35,500

44,000

Nursing Assistant

42

26,276

29,660

30,374

Special Needs Assistant

42

23,122

30,211

38,723

  • Some of the scales have significantly more points than others and, hence, a higher “top of scale”.

APPENDIX – CONTRIBUTORS TO THE STUDY

Association of Childhood Professionals

Crann Support Group

Early Childhood Ireland

Forsa

National Childhood Network (staff, private and committee operators)

PLÉ

National Forum for Community Childcare Services

Seas Suas

SIPTU

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