Following the announcement yesterday of sustainability measures in response to COVID-19 by the government, Minister Katherine Zappone has provided further details to support the Childcare sector.
Outlining these measures, Minister Zappone said:
“These measures will:
- help to ensure that the Childcare Sector is in a position to reopen after COVID-19
- provide parents with a reassurance that they are not required to pay childcare fees during this COVID-19 crisis, while providing them with reassurance that they will maintain their childcare places
- give Early Learning and Care Educators security
- retain vital Early Learning and Care Educators in the sector.”
The measures are as follows:
- Revenue will reimburse childcare employers by 70% of their pre COVID-19 staff costs
- in addition, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will reimburse childcare employers by 30% of their pre COVID-19 staff costs
- the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will pay a retention top-up designed to retain staff in the sector
- the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will fund Childcare Providers with a proportion of staff costs during the closure period to assist with their ongoing costs where needed
These emergency measures will apply for up to 12 weeks in line with the government’s announcement yesterday and reflect the unique challenges and demands facing the sector.
They involve the re-purposing of funds already allocated to support the childcare sector.
Childcare Providers will be required to sign a new COVID-19 Emergency Agreement.
This will require providers to agree to a number of conditions that will include:
- not charging parents for childcare fees from this month onwards
- assure parents that their children’s places are as secure as they can be post COVID-19
- agree to ensure staff are paid at pre COVID-19 levels, with the benefit of the funding from Revenue and DCYA
- take active steps to reinstate their staff that have already been laid off on the same terms as above (with staff reinstated on pre COVID-19 terms and conditions)
- staff would use this time for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and other professional activities. Employers will use this time to catch up on administrative tasks and familiarise themselves further with the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) and any other resources, including new resources which will be developed in the coming weeks
- give consent to Revenue to provide evidence of staff costs to allow the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to process payments to providers
State income is already in place for Childcare Providers until the end of this week.
The Minister stressed that these are emergency measures that will apply for up to 12 weeks, in accordance with the government’s decisions in this area.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will roll out these measures as quickly as possible.