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On the 24th March 2020 the Government announced a support package for Early Years Services for 12 weeks in response to Covid-19. It is a press release and the finer detail has yet to be published. Reading the press release there are still many questions to be answered. We await the publication of further information before updating our Q and A. The following is the basic details.

Statement on measures announced to support Childcare Providers & Parents

Minister Katherine Zappone announces measures to support Childcare Providers and Parents during Covid-19 closures.

Following the announcement today 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 that 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 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:

  1. Revenue will reimburse childcare employers by 70% of their pre-Covid-19 staff costs
  2. In addition, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs will reimburse childcare employers by 30% of their pre-Covid-19 staff costs
  3. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will pay a retention top-up so that all staff earn a minimum of €350 per week net
  4. The Department of Children and Youth Affairs will fund Childcare Providers with 15% of staff costs during the closure period to assist with their ongoing costs

These measures will apply for up to 12 weeks in line with the Government’s announcement earlier today.

  • 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 childrens places are as secure as they can be post Covid-19
  • Agree to ensure staff are paid at pre-Covid-19 levels, plus, where they earned less than €350 per week, the balance up to €350 (which is the February 2020 wage or €350, whichever is the greater)
  • 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 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 Department of Children and Youth Affairs will roll out these measures as quickly as possible.