The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has today announced that Government is to pay 80% of wages for employees unable to work due the coronavirus pandemic, up to £2,500 a month.
The new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be relevant to any childcare provider employing staff who has had to close their setting or is at risk of making their staff redundant due to the Coronavirus. Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable or non-profit – will be eligible for the scheme.
Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are “not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll”, rather than being laid off. Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month – that’s above the median income.
Employers can choose to top up salaries further if they wish to and means that workers, including everyone employed in the early years and childcare sector in the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and will be paid at least 80% of their salary.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st 2020 and will be open initially for at least three months. The Chancellor said the "unprecedented" measures were part of plans to protect people's jobs. He made clear he will extend the scheme for longer if necessary and that he is placing no limit on the amount of funding available for the scheme. Government will pay grants to support as many jobs as necessary.
The Chancellor’s full speech can be found here
Liz Bayram, PACEY's Chief Executive, said: “This is an important life line for so many childcare providers who have been told by Government they must close their business from Monday but we remain extremely worried and concerned for the almost 40,000 self-employed registered childminders in England and Wales who are also been told to close their settings from Monday.
"Most are on very low incomes and it will now be impossible, for most of them, to earning a living from next week. More has to be done by Government to recognise the impact this decision is having on these sole traders. It will be top of PACEY’s list of asks of the Department for Education when we attend their Early Years and Childcare Covid 19 Response Group on Monday.”