Government must go back to drawing board on childcare

The government must now go back to the drawing board, the INMO has said, following the cancellation of a proposed government childcare scheme for frontline healthcare workers.

The scheme aimed to provide in-home childcare for frontline healthcare workers who were facing difficulty. The government pointed to a low take-up of the scheme as the reason for cancellation.

The INMO has been calling for childcare provision since before the COVID-19 restrictions took effect. The union was not consulted on the proposals for the now-cancelled scheme, and is seeking constructive engagement in the coming days.

Over 94% of nurses and midwives are women, with childcare a major practical issue.

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:

“The government must go back to the drawing board. Everyone wants to see a successful scheme, so we will be engaging constructively with the government to get this sorted. 

“A key lesson from this process is that there should be constant engagement with unions and stakeholders in the design of these schemes. 

“Until then, nurses and midwives with childcare difficulties can expect maximum flexibility to allow them to attend work. Should that fail, they can remain home, awaiting remote work, with full pay. This was negotiated between unions and employers in the past weeks.

“If the government wants as many frontline nurses and midwives as possible at work, they will have to offer an additional scheme to make it practical.”

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