Many childcare providers will be excluded under the Department of Children and Youth Affairs' new scheme to protect workers in the sector, while creches risk getting very little funding, or no funding at all.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil spokesperson for children and youth affairs, and Galway East TD, Anne Rabbitte. She was speaking following the Department's publication of its FAQ this week, detailing how it will operate its Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme, which is being run in addition to Revenue’s COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.
Dep Rabbitte called the Department’s scheme "very disappointing" for childcare providers. She said that while it addressed the issue of staff wages, the measures would also "exclude the considerable number of childcare providers" who are either sole traders, or where owners/managers are working directors, and who may not take a regular salary from their creche.
She also noted that with Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme funding suspended, the Department's measures will also "significantly reduce" the funding available to many creches, and would "likely exclude" certain smaller creches from accessing funding at all.
"This has the potential to decimate the sector and could leave parents searching for a new crèche in a few months’ time," she said, noting that she was aware of 15 creches which closed this week "as they cannot continue to support their staff under this new scheme".
She said: “The childcare sector was already under great strain and numerous providers have been in touch in recent days to voice their concern and rejection of these new measures. Providers feel like this has been thrust upon them and it’s left them in a very precarious position."