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Wednesday, 25th March 2020

O’Dowd welcomes support for childcare sector

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Deputy Fergus O’Dowd.

Deputy Fergus O’Dowd, has welcomed news that a number of significant measures will be implemented to support Ireland’s Childcare Sector.

“This is a very worrying time for parents and childcare workers alike,” O’Dowd said, “it is vitally important that certainty is delivered to ensure that the childcare sector is ready and waiting for the return of normal day to day business.”

“Many facilities have requested that parents continue to pay for their child’s space during the closure, this has put significant financial pressure on parents who fear losing the highly sought after child care spaces.

The supports announced today will only be offered if crèche operators agree to stop charging parents’ from this month on.

“The Measures announced today will be put in place for up to 12 weeks in line with the Government’s announcement yesterday. This will require a complete buy in by all sides and I hope for everyone’s sake that an agreement can be found.”

The following are the measures announced:

  • 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.

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 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.

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