Sector leaders warn “there may not be a childcare sector left” following the coronavirus crisis, after the government pulled a “shock” U-turn on plans for furlough funding.
Fresh guidance detailing which childcare employees would be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was released at 6.30pm on Friday (17 April), less than 72-hours before claims applications for the scheme opened on Monday morning.
Coronavirus (Covid-19): financial support for education, early years and children’s social care says providers may only access CJRS funds “to cover up to the proportion of its paybill which could be considered to have been paid from that provider’s private income”. This means employers will be unable to claim for the percentage of income covered by government-funded “free” childcare places.
The new guidance says that private providers should only furlough employees if:
- The employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and where their salary is not covered by public funding
- The employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off
- The employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded (free entitlement funding)
- (Where appropriate) the employee is not required to deliver provision for a child of a critical worker and/or vulnerable child
- The grant from the CJRS would not duplicate other public grants received, and would not lead to financial reserves being created