The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced that the Government is to pay 80% of wages for employees unable to work due the coronavirus pandemic, up to £2,500 a month.

All UK businesses are eligible for the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and it can be used by any childcare provider employing staff which has had to close their setting or is at risk of making their staff redundant due to the Coronavirus.

Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The scheme will be backdated to 1 March 2020 and initially open for three months but will be extended if necessary.

Other measures announced in the Government’s workers’ support package include the following.

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will now be interest free for 12 months.

  • The standard rate in Universal Credit and Tax Credits will be increased by £20 a week for one year from 6 April.

  • VAT payments due between now and the end of June will be deferred.

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive at the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said:

“This announcement of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be really welcomed by nurseries and childcare providers who have been facing extremely anxious times. The Government’s decision to keep schools and nurseries open for only vulnerable children and families of key workers has led to a lot of uncertainty with nurseries wanting to protect their staff while also staying open.”

“We have consistently lobbied for more support for nurseries at this time and welcome the Chancellor’s Scheme paying up to 80% of staff wages for people who are unable to work. There are a lot of dedicated and skilled people in the early years sector who we will need to be in post and ready when the country returns to work.”

“Deferring VAT payments will also help nurseries short term but in the long term we want to see them fully exempted. We will wait to see the detail of how the scheme will be administered and hope this will be in place quickly as we know nurseries are worried about the impact of partial or full closures.”

More information about the measures announced for businesses can be found here.

Last reviewed 26 March 2020