Childcare and COVID-19

Introduction

On 12 March 2020, all schools, childcare and educational facilities closed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. For information on the reopening of childcare facilities - see 'Opening of childcare facilities' below.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) also has a Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme in place from 6 April 2020 to support childcare providers.

If your childcare provider signs up to the new Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme, you will keep your childcare place and you do not have to pay childcare fees while childcare facilities are closed during the public health emergency. You may also be entitled to a refund of some of the fees you paid in advance for childcare that was not provided due to the closures.

Childcare providers on Revenue’s COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will be transferred to the DCYA’s Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

If you left work to care for a child because of school or childcare closures and your employer is no longer paying you, in some circumstances, you may qualify for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Contact the DEASP using MyWelfare or call 1890 800 024 to find out if you can qualify.

You can also read about support services for families during COVID-19.

If you pay childcare fees

You keep your childcare place and you do not have to pay fees during the COVID-19 public health emergency, if your childcare provider signs up to the new DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

Your childcare provider cannot ask for voluntary contributions and should refund any fees that you paid for childcare for the period of time that your provider is covered by the new DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

Childcare services that do not sign up for the DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme should discuss their situation with parents.

If your childcare fees are subsidised

You keep your subsidised childcare place and you do not have to pay fees during the public health emergency, if your childcare provider signs up to the new DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme. This applies to the following subsidies:

TEC schemes are:

Your childcare provider cannot ask for voluntary contributions and should refund any fees that you paid for childcare for the period of time that your provider is covered by the new DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

Childcare services that do not sign up for the DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme should discuss their situation with parents.

If your child is enrolled in a free childcare programme

Your child may be enrolled in one of the following programmes:

If your child is enrolled in ECCE or Early Start and your childcare provider takes up the special childcare financial supports, you will keep your childcare place as long as your child is eligible for the scheme.

Support for childcare workers

Childcare facilities are closed during the public health emergency. However, wages for childcare workers will continue be paid, if the childcare provider is covered by the new DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

If a childcare worker’s wages were less than €350 per week before the closures, they can get a top-up payment from their employer to bring their wages up to the same rate as the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

Read more about your employment rights during COVID-19 restrictions.

Support for childcare providers

The new DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme sets out emergency measures to support childcare providers while childcare facilities are closed during the public health emergency

The measures are:

  • Reimburse up staff costs during the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • Provide a fund to help with expenses like rent and utility bills.

From 6 April 2020, childcare providers on Revenue’s COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme will be transferred to the DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

In return for this financial support a childcare provider must agree to:

  • Not charge parents for childcare fees
  • Allow parents to keep their childcare places
  • Reinstate laid off staff on the same terms as before, where possible, when childcare facilities reopen
  • Use the closure time for staff training and development and to catch up on administrative tasks
  • Not ask for voluntary contributions and refund fees paid for childcare for the period of time covered by the new DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme

These measures will apply from 6 April 2020 and for the duration of Revenue Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme.

You can read about specific supports for childcare providers impacted by COVID-19 and the DCYA Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

Opening of childcare facilities

The Government has set out a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business (pdf) to ease the COVID-19 restrictions in a phased manner which includes:

Page edited: 14 May 2020