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What is the Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme?
The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme (WSCS) has been established by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA).
The WSCS will provide additional financial supports to both the Care and School Age Childcare and Early Learning sectors.
The WSCS should ensure that childcare employees have the financial support they need to see out the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, it’s hoped that childcare facilities can reopen once the restrictions ease.
How will the scheme help childcare employers?
The WSCS is linked to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. The TWSS is available to all employers who have seen business negatively affected by COVID-19.
For childcare employers, the most important aspect of the WSCS is that it allows them to retain staff on payrolls. It also provides a payment in respect of operating costs to employers whose businesses are affected.
How will the scheme help employees?
The DCYA will top-up the wage subsidy provided by Revenue under the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme to a limit of €585 per week. It’s hoped this will ensure that as many staff as possible receive the vast bulk of their salary for the duration of the crisis.
How do childcare employers avail of the scheme?
The first step any childcare provider must take is to register with Revenue for the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
Once the WSCS is operational, childcare providers will be able to sign a new agreement and receive their top-up payments from the DCYA. Overhead contributions will then be backdated to the date the childcare provider signed the agreement.
What happens to payments for ECCE, NCS, CCSP, TEC?
Payments made under various schemes like the Early Childhood Care and Education and the National Childcare Scheme, Community Childcare Subvention Scheme and Training and Employment Childcare programmes are linked to the provision of a service to parents.
As there’s no service provided to parents while the COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, these payments will cease. As a result, employers should avail of the wage subsidy supports that are available.
Can the self-employed apply for WSCS?
The self-employed are likely to be an eligible employee and can avail of the subsidy schemes operated by the DCYA and the Revenue.
Self-employed persons who don’t pay themselves through the business’ payroll will need to use the government’s alternative income support – the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. This is a support of €350 per week paid by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
Self-employed childcare providers with no employees can also avail of the DCYA overhead payment (i.e. 15% of staff wages with a minimum payment of €300 per week).