€75 million is being given to childcare providers to stop them charging higher fees than before the Covid-19 crisis. The support package is being introduced so 1,800 creches can reopen on June 29th, with reduced numbers of children.
This funding is being given specifically so 1,800 of the 4,500 creches across the country can open for the summer months.
The aim is to make sure that despite reduced numbers of children attending, less parental income, and increased costs for creches with Covid-19 hygiene measures, they won’t charge parents more than they did before the pandemic.
The package includes a wage subsidy scheme that will operate until the end of August covering 85% of wages, and a once-off reopening grant of €18m for extra staffing costs like cleaning and training on how to operate play pods.
There’s still uncertainty over what will happen in late August once this scheme ends, and all 4,500 creches are due to open though.
The Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone announced the funding supports today:
“Early Learning and Childcare Services are important for children and their parents, and they are essential to reopening the economy. I’m pleased to give details today of how we will support the childcare sector to get up and running again.”
In a statement, she added: “Many parents need to return to work to support their families. Childcare is essential to this and a critical element in enabling our economy to get up and running again.
“We have clear public health guidance for the childcare sector on how this can happen as safely as possible. We now have a funding model which supports the public health guidance.
“I believe it supports the sustainability of the childcare sector. It is the first step back towards full capacity.”