I thought it was important to shed some light on an issue that's been concerning a number of childcare providers about the Job Retention Scheme. Some slightly vague guidance was clarified earlier this week and caused some to believe that they cannot access money to furlough staff. That isn't quite the case and therefore I thought I should share publicly.
The guidance sets out that staff funded by public/taxpayer's money cannot be furloughed because that money is still currently being paid to employers, such as with funding for 15 and 30 hours free childcare. This is because obviously if we are still paying those wages through those types of package, we are not going to also let people claim for those staff for a second time through the Scheme.
However staff funded from private income are eligible to be furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme, and this is made crystal clear in a letter I've received from the Minister responsible this afternoon. It states that childcare providers can use the Job Retention Scheme for some of their staff proportionate with the level of private income they receive.
In practise that means that if 100% of your funding comes from Government 'free childcare' you cannot furlough because Government is still paying you that money. Equally if you're entirely privately funded then you can furlough all staff. Most settings will of course have a mix of private and public funding, so if for example only 20% of your income is from taxpayer funded 'free childcare' schemes and the other 80% is from privately funded places, then you could legitimately furlough 80% of your staff, in line with the proportion of your private funding.
I fully appreciate that this has been confusing so I hope that this now makes things clearer for those who have been concerned or perhaps signed petitions etc which wrongly state that nurseries are not eligible to access the scheme.
The images below include the key part of the letter that states this, as well as the list of other support currently available to childcare providers.