Promises on Children and Childcare
Election promises on Children and Childcare
• Constitutional amendment on Article on Children.
• Increase rate of early childcare supplement and child benefit.
• Access to affordable pre-school places for all by 2012.
• 50,000 extra childcare places by 2010.
• Increase paid maternity leave by five weeks and make all leave after the first 26 weeks available to either parent.
• Develop after-school and holiday-time childcare.
• More playgrounds.
• Vetting introduced for teachers, health boards and charities, sport and youth organisations.
• Expansion of pre-school education.
• Subsidise parents up to two-thirds of the cost of access to pre-school education from private independent providers, or up to 100 per cent if found eligible through means testing.
• Establish a register of pre-school providers.
• Paid parental leave for up to one year.
• A subsidy of €50 per week for each child until entry into state-subsidised pre-school, payable to all parents from the expiration of maternity leave and €25 per week for each child payable to all parents for primary-school children up to the age of 12.
• Provide one year of free pre-school education.
• Allow up to €8,000 per annum to be earned tax free from childcare in the home.
• Garda clearance for all childcare staff.
• Replace the early childcare supplement with a refundable parenting tax.
• Increase paternity benefit to two weeks with a statutory right to six months. Parental benefit to be taken in the child's first year, and to be available to either parent.
• Initiate free and universal pre-school education of 3.5 hours, five days a week for all children.
• Allocate a tax-free allowance of €5,000 per child per registered childminder for up to three children.
• New Department of Youth and Children.
• Universally available, publicly funded early childhood education with appropriate resources to facilitate the earliest and most effective detection of Special educational needs.
• Establish a Childcare Agency.
• Paid parental leave for employees who pay PRSI.
• Government-funded childcare facilities and after-school care funding.
• Create a new Child Protection Unit.
• Provide an extra 50,000 new childcare places by 2010.
• Keep children's allowance payments in line with inflation increases.
• Increase the ‘under-six childcare supplement' from €250 to €500 per quarter by 2012.
• Invest €60m in National Children's Strategy.
• Schools accessible to students outside normal school hours to help commuting parents.
• Free childcare and pre-school education for all children.
• Access to before and after-school care and holiday clubs on school premises funded by the state.
• Paid maternity leave extended to 52 weeks, paid paternity leave extended to 12 weeks, paid parental leave of 52 weeks to be used by either parent until child is eight.
• Third-level diploma course for childcare workers and degree course for pre-school teachers, and wages linked to comparable grades in public sector.