Offaly County Childcare Committee -   057 9135878

COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Information for childcare providers

COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Information for childcare providers DCYA new logo

The Department Of Children and Youth Affairs provides subvention towards childcare and will continue to do so during the closures announced by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD on 12 March 2020.

The department will continue to pay for all government childcare schemes while crèches and preschools are closed. This means that providers will be fully paid for the free preschool scheme (ECCE) and it will remain free to parents. Likewise NCS, CCSP and TEC will continue to be subsidised to eliminate or reduce the fear of lower income families.

Funds in place from the department to continue to pay staff in early learning and care and school-age childcare settings
As the State is not the employer, this department does not pay the wages of staff working in early learning and care settings and school-age childcare settings and cannot direct on this matter. However, a significant proportion of crèches’ income on a national level comes from the State. This is estimated to be over 75% nationally. This will support many services to continue to pay staff in this challenging time.

If any employer is unable to pay an employee or cannot provide a flexible working solution to the employee then the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection provides a range of income supports that can support parents in these situations.

These include the following:

  • if the employee has been temporarily laid off for the duration of the current school closure due to a reduction in business they may claim a Jobseeker’s payment
  • where the employer and employee arrange for the employee to work on a short-time basis, for example 3 days on and 2 days off, the employees can claim Short Time Working payment for the days they are not working (up to a maximum of three days per week)
  • if the employee can work a set pattern, for example week on week off, they may be eligible for a Jobseeker’s payment
  • if the employee works a minimum of 19 hours per week they may be able to avail of the Working Family Payment which provides income support to certain parents with children
  • where an employee does not qualify for any of these payments and has an income need they can apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance, which is means-assessed

For further information, please refer to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, at the link below:

www.gov.ie/en/publication/99104a-covid-19-coronavirus


Resources in place to support childcare businesses

Resources are available to support businesses from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.


Crèche fees
All 4500 crèches and preschools in the country are operated by private providers, 25% of which are community / not for profit.

This department will continue to pay for all government childcare schemes while crèches and preschools are closed. This means that providers will be paid for the free pre-school scheme (ECCE) in full and it will remain free to parents. Likewise other lower income families accessing the NCS, CCS or TEC, will have their subsidies paid.

It is a matter for parents to talk to providers about whether they must continue to pay fees. This may be covered in contracts they may have with providers.

A significant proportion of crèches’ income on a national level comes from the State (estimated to be over 75%) and this should support many services to continue to pay staff in this challenging time. However, some services may have little or no State income and are heavily dependent on parental fees.


Whether childcare services have to apply for Force Majeure due to the decision to close services
There is no need to apply for force majeure due to the decision announced on 12 March and services will not be required to make up days for those closed due to force majeure. See notice on PIP portal.


Whether any conditions are attached to the continued funding during this time of closure
There are no conditions. It is expected that the funds be used to pay and retain staff where appropriate.


Rate of subvention payment
Subvention to childcare services will be paid at the same rate as the last full week of service.


Can providers work in their setting while the closure is ongoing
For the moment, the advice is that only remote working can take place. This may facilitate administration, e-learning and professional activities


Can childminders continue to operate
Childminders can continue to operate. It is important that they follow HSE advice to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

To support social distancing and minimise risk, it is recommended that childminders:

  • keep numbers of children to a minimum
  • do not work if they have symptoms
  • do not care for children who have symptoms
  • consider prioritising children of essential frontline workers

The advice on childminding is being reviewed on an ongoing basis. The department will provide a further update as soon as available from the Public Health team.

 

https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/47c549-covid-19-coronavirus-information-for-childcare-providers/

 

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COVID-19 Notice

Dear Service Provider, PobalLogo

In light of the recent communication from the Government regarding the closure of childcare facilities until 29th March, 2020 due to Covid-19, we wish to inform you of the following;

Pobal service delivery:
While Pobal plan to provide a full business as usual service, given the changing nature of the situation, our main objective will be to ensure that payments are made to Service Providers for all schemes for the duration of the closures.

Better Start:
All Better Start service visits have been suspended until such time as services re-open.

Any queries in relation to the following areas can be sent to the subsequent email addresses;

· Better Start Quality Development Service - can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
· AIM support queries - can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
· General queries - can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AIM L3 (Hanen Teacher Talk) training has been suspended as of 12th March 2020 and will be re-scheduled once the advised restrictions are lifted. Queries can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please note, NSAI Aistear and Play training has also been suspended as of 12th March 2020 and will be re-scheduled once the advised restrictions are lifted. Queries can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Force Majeure:
Service Providers are not required to submit a force majeure application for the period of the Covid19 closure, to March 29th.

Payments:
Payments relating to ECCE, CCSP, AIM and TEC will continue as normal.

NCS returns will not be generated on the HIVE to Service Providers, but Pobal will make weekly payments based on approved valid claims/registrations. All invalid claims should be amended by today to ensure payments are made through the closure period.

Registrations:
Service Providers will not be permitted to submit any new registrations from 11.59pm on 12th March, for the period of closure. Service Providers are encouraged to ensure that all ECCE and NCS registrations are up to date as of today’s date.

Compliance:
In light of service provider closures, compliance visits have being suspended. They will recommence when services are reopened.

For all other queries please contact the Early Years Provider Centre on 01 5117222 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Minister Zappone welcomes launch of the Postal Application Process for the National Childcare Scheme

Minister Zappone welcomes launch of the Postal Application Process for the National Childcare SchemeNational Childcare Scheme Logo

Published: 11 March 2020
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs
30,359 applications received to date for 39,572 children.

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) opened for online applications on 20th November 2019. To date 30,359 applications for support for 39,572 children have been processed. 3,646 childcare providers have contracted to deliver services under the NCS.

Welcoming the launch of the NCS postal application process, Minister Zappone said:

“I am delighted with the response to the National Childcare Scheme. Applications have been received for almost 40,000 children since the launch of the NCS on the 20th November 2019.

“The introduction of the postal application process provides another route for families who choose an “offline” route. I would like to see the numbers making applications continue to grow, and I encourage parents to visit our website www.ncs.gov.ie for more information on what they may be eligible for and how to apply using the online or postal application process.”

From 13 March 2020, families can continue to opt to apply online for subsidies under the NCS, or, they may choose to apply offline, by requesting a paper application form from the National Childcare Scheme - Parent Support Centre.

For most families, the quickest and easiest way to apply and receive a subsidy is by using the online application process. This requires a verified MyGovID account and families can apply directly at www.ncs.gov.ie. The innovative, purpose-built IT system of the NCS aims to process a universal application in a matter of minutes, and an income assessed application in a matter of days.

Alternatively, families who wish to apply for subsidies by post can contact the National Childcare Scheme - Parent Support Centre by phone (see details below) and the appropriate form will then be posted out for completion.

Subsidies awarded to families can be used with any participating Tusla registered, early learning and care and school age childcare providers. This includes Tusla registered childminders.

Under the NCS, families are being supported to meet the cost of quality early learning and care and school age childcare through a system of universal and income-related subsidies. Additional funding provided under Budgets 2019 and 2020 seeks to ensure that thousands of extra children will benefit from the NCS, beyond that originally expected. The additional investment should also ensure that thousands of other children will see increases to subsidies they were already eligible for. Income based subsidies are available to families with reckonable household incomes of up to €60,000 per annum. Depending on family circumstances, this can be in the region of €90,000 in gross income.

The NCS is paving the way for Ireland’s childcare system to transform from one of the most expensive in the world into one of the best.

Further information and resources for parents are available at www.ncs.gov.ie. The National Childcare Scheme - Parent Support Centre is open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm and can be contacted at 01 906 8530.

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