New Employment Regulation Orders for the Early Years Services Sector – 24 June 2024

​Dear Service Provider,  

On 3 June 2024, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) announced the accepted proposals for new Employment Regulation Orders (EROs), applicable to the Early Years Services Sector. The EROs will come into effect on 24 June 2024.

The Orders include:

  • Increases to the minimum hourly rates applicable across employment roles.
  • The removal of the requirement for graduates to have three years’ experience before they are eligible for Graduate Lead Educator or Graduate Manager rates of pay, to widen access to graduate premiums under Core Funding. 

To read the full announcement, Click here.

From 24 June 2024, due to the removal of the three years’ experience requirement, Core Funding Partner Services will now have the opportunity to attract a Graduate Lead Educator/Manager premium for a staff member(s), who meets the following criteria:

Graduate Lead Educator for Early Learning & Care (ELC) sessions

  • Must be assigned to the role of Lead Educator in an ELC session(s) and be reflected as such in the Core Funding Application.
  • Must hold an eligible qualification as per the Department’s list of approved qualifications, QQI Level 7 or above.

Please note for the purposes of Core Funding, each ELC session can only have one Lead Educator at any one time, even if the children are organised into groups within the room.

Graduate Manager Premium

  • Must be a Graduate Manager working in an Early Learning and Childcare service.
  • Must hold an eligible qualification as per the Department’s list of approved qualifications, Level 7 or above.
  • Please note, an individual cannot be in receipt of both a Graduate Manager Premium and a Graduate Lead Educator Premium. School Age Childcare (SAC)-only services and childminders are not eligible for the Graduate Manager Premium.

What am I required to do in advance?

Partner Services must ensure that the information for their graduate staff members is accurate and up to date on their Service Profile.

What am I required to do when the EROs come into effect on 24 June 2024?To avail of the increased Graduate Lead Educator/Manager premium, Partner Services with an eligible staff member mustsubmit an Application Change no earlier than 24 June 2024, with a Change Effective date of 24 June 2024. If an application change is submitted before this date, the ERO will not be in effect, therefore will not be applied to the application.

An Application Change is required to be submitted if a Partner Service is adding a staff member to their Core Funding Application Module for the first time and/or, if a Partner Service has a staff member in their existing Core Funding Application Module who now qualifies for the Graduate Lead Educator/Manager premiums.

Any increase in the Graduate Lead Educator/Manager premium(s) will be effective from the Application Change submission date or the change effective date, whichever is the later. Therefore, to ensure a service is allocated the maximum funding available, services have until 30 June 2024 to submit an application change with a change effective date of 24 June 2024. A delay in submitting an Application Change will result in the increase occurring later than the ERO effective date and backdating will not be permitted.

It is important that on the summary page of your Core Funding application, before submitting your Application Change, that you review the grant values associated with the Graduate Manager or Lead Educator premiums, to ensure the values have updated. If not, you will need to move back to the previous steps to ensure you have correctly captured the staff member the change is relating to.

If your service requires support, additional resources are available under the Core Funding Documents section on the Early Years Hive. Your local City/County Childcare Committee (CCC) also remain available to assist you in completing your Core Funding Application Module. 

If you require any further assistance or clarification on any of the above, please contact the Early Years Provider Centre (EYPC) by raising a Request as follows, to ensure your query is escalated to the relevant team:

  • Summary: ERO-Removal of 3 years’ experience requirement
  • Programme: Core Funding,
  • Request Type: Application
  • Request Type Detail: Application 


The Early Years Team  

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