SIPTU Letter to DCYA re: Covid-19 Scheme

Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Block 1 Miesian Plaza, 50–58 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2 (by email)

Re: Measures to support the Early Learning and Care sector during Covid-19 crisis

30th March, 2020

I am writing to you in relation to the measures announced last week by Minister Zappone to support the Early Learning and Care sector during Covid-19 crisis.

We have received a large range of questions from member and they have been collated below. We understand the DCYA are currently drafting FAQs in relation to these measures and we would be grateful if the Department could address the questions outlined below their document.

1. Will all Early Learning and Care staff receive at least €350 per week if their employer signs up to the ELC Covid-19 scheme?

2. What is the maximum payment that the Revenue / DCYA will make towards the wages of a staff member, per-week?

3. Are AIM workers covered by the ELC Covid-19 Scheme. If not, will the AIM funding continue?

4. Are ancillary staff or staff who have no direct contact with children covered by the ELC Covid-19 scheme

5. Are after-school’s staff covered by the scheme and if so, what is the maximum wage subsidy available?

6. When does new proposed scheme commence (date) and is there a deadline date whereby Early Learning and Care services must sign up to the Covid-19 Emergency Agreement?

7. Will a service provider receive any funding for any scheme if they choose not to sign up to the Covid-19?

8. If an employer does not sign up to the scheme, can the normal wage be paid directly to the worker by Revenue / DCYA?

9. Regarding the 15% of staff costs to be paid during the closure period to assist with ongoing costs:

a. Is this figure is based on total gross amount, i.e. including staff costs associated with non-state funded childcare services and employers’ PRSI costs?

b. Can the Department clarify if all other subsidies (e.g. the general administrative subsidy) are also suspended during the emergency closures?

10. Where a staff member is not regularly on the payroll, including during the reference period set by Revenue for eligibility for the reimbursement scheme, can a payment be facilitated for this worker?

11. Can the DCYA detail the business supports available to service providers?

12. There is a concern that service providers will not have the initial cash in the bank to meet the cost of employee wages through the scheme. What facilities will be made available to assist with this?

13. Will the Department put any financial support in place for services post the 12-week period to meet the costs of sustaining the service over the summer months?

14. In a situation where the service is delivered solely by the service provider and have no employees on the payroll, could the service avail of an equivalent ‘top up’ payment

15. What are the practical administration systems being proposed by the DCYA and Revenue to process the reimbursement of payments made by the service provider?

14. What is the situation for workers employed by more than one service?

15. If a childcare worker had already claimed the pandemic unemployment benefit directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, can their employer opt into the new scheme. If yes, what is the process for the employee to change over to the new agreement with their employer?

Your assistance with the clarifications sought would be greatly appreciated.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Darragh O’Connor

SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising

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