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Guidance for Childcare Settings - Covid- 19
[26/03/2020]

 

Welsh Government have published the latest guidance on Coronavirus and Childcare settings with the latest frequently asked questions (FAQs) at: https://gov.wales/coronavirus-and-childcare-provision

The Education Minster sent a briefing following the announcement by the UK PM on 23.03.20 @ 20.30. “Schools and Childcare are still open to the children of critical workers”.

A summary of the pertinent points are:

  • If at all possible, children should be cared for at home, with everyone socially distancing.

  • As at 24th March, the briefing recommends children should be at home wherever possible, critical workers will still need to have safe care arrangements for their children. Schools and Childcare settings provide a vital service to support critical workers and our most vulnerable children.
  • Welsh Government is not asking childcare settings to close.  They areasking parents to keep their children at home wherever possible and as per the infographic above to restrict the number of childcare spaces available in childcare settings so that there is provision for vulnerable children and those whose parents are critical/keyworkers.
  • The Welsh Government has confirmed that it will continue to pay for hours of childcare booked under The Childcare Offer.  They are working with local authorities regarding funding for Flying Start and early education provided through Foundation Phase Nursery.
  • If Welsh Government/other official body requires you to undertake a deep clean due to coronavirus, you will need to apply for funding from your Local Authority through their Family Information Service (FIS).

Business Support from Welsh Government

There are a number of measures in place to support childcare providers across Wales as a result of COVID-19. For example:

  • Business Rate Relief – all childcare settings in Wales currently receive 100% relief
  • Changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Businesses can defer payments through HMRC’s “Time to pay” scheme

The Welsh Government is keeping what further support businesses may require under close review.

Business Support from UK Government

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. This currently does not include self-employed people such as Childminders , this is not clear if it includes Sole Traders, or those that are unincorporated partnership etc.  This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme(all UK businesses are eligible)

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ the definition of which is:

[a furlough  is a temporary leave of employees due to special needs of a company or employer, which may be due to economic conditions at the specific employer or in the economy as a whole.]

  • notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 (gross) per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

It is the decision of each individual setting whether they decide to pay their staff 100% of their salary or 80%. Any decision to pay the full salary from the outset can and should be reviewed regularly.

See template Furlough letter [bit.ly/Template-Furlough-Letter-3003]

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses#support-for-businesses-who-are-paying-sick-pay-to-employees

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible.  The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website.
  • The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force 01.03.20.
  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

It is expected that further support will be announced by the Chancellor in the coming days in relation to wage support for small businesses which will supplement the extensions to Statutory Sick Pay facilitated through a rebate scheme.
 
Crucially for Welsh Businesses, in addition to the support set out above, the Welsh Government has announced a £100m grant scheme, with details to be announced in the near future, to support businesses.

Working with Insurers for clarification

The Welsh Government acknowledges that, in many cases, the insurance that childcare providers will not cover them for income lost during COVID-19-related closures. There is a range of support for businesses to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on them. We are asking childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents. The Welsh Government is keeping what further support businesses may require under close review.

 

Other sources of information- please note some of this relates to English only organisations:

The First Minister has launched the Looking Out for Each Other campaign in Wales.

The Charity Commission has provided guidance on running your charity during the coronavirus crisis.

Filing-charity-annual-returns-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic

Current UK Government Guidance:

Unfortunately the Small Business Grant Scheme widely advertised in the media is only available to English businesses. CWLWM partners will work with Welsh Government to ensure that there is a scheme available to Welsh Childcare settings.

COVID-19: support for businesses

COVID-19: guidance for employees

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan

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