Parents, Childcare & Coronavirus FAQ

7th April 2020

We are living in deeply worrying and unprecedented times which is having a huge effect on the entire population but is particularly concerning for parents with young children.

We are doing everything we can to help and support parents during this very challenging period. Here is a list of some of the frequently asked questions being asked by parents.

Do all childminders and nurseries have to close?

On Wednesday 18th March 2020, the UK government announced that registered early years providers in England, including childminders, would close from the end of business on Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. The government have stated that early years providers, may continue to remain open to care for the children of key workers/critical workers and vulnerable children.

You can see the latest updates for Scotland Childminders, Northern Ireland Childminders and Wales Childminders..

What is a key worker/critical worker?

The list is quite wide and includes NHS staff, social care workers, school & nursery staff, police officers, court staff, religious staff, journalists, some government staff, delivery workers, supermarket staff, army and MoD, firefighters, prison & probation staff, transport workers, infrastructure workers such as gas & electricity and some financial services staff.  If you or the child's other parent is on the list then you should be able to continue to receive childcare.

Can I use a childminder or nursery if one parent is a key worker?

Yes. If the child has at least one parent who is a key worker then childminders and nurseries can continue to care for their child.

I work for the NHS - Can I use your platform for free?

Yes. We are offering free access to our messaging service for NHS staff during the coronvirus pandemic. All childcare providers may also message NHS workers without paying. 

Can a childminder or nursery take on new children of keyworker parents?

Yes. The government has stated that childminders and nurseries can take on new children if one or more parents are key workers.

Can a childminder or nursery still charge parents if they are closed?

It will depend upon the contract with your childcare setting but generally you wouldn't be able to be charged fees if the setting was unable to provide childcare. Some parents are willing to pay full or half fees for a period of time in order for a childminder or nursery to hold their places but this would be something you would have to negotiate with the childcare setting.

What is the definition of vulnerable children?

Vulnerable children are those who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

My childminder or nursery is due to be inspected soon - what will happen?

Ofsted have stated that routine inspections will be temporarily suspended.

What about nannies?

There does not appear to have been any specific advice from the government in relation to nannies. The government have stated that it is acceptable to travel to and from work in instances where it is absolutely impossible for you to work from home.  As nannies are unable to work from home, we assume nannies can continue to work if they wish to do so. However, if at least one parent is at home with their children then it shouldn't be necessary for a nanny to be at work and in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing, it is safer for live-out nannies not to travel to and from work.

In the case of live-in nannies who stay at the family home and have not mixed with others for a period of time then it may be deemed safe for them to continue to work as long they continue to stay in the family home.

Any nanny who does not feel safe or comfortable continuing to work should speak to their employer. The nanny employer may be able to furlough the nanny under the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which provides up to 80% of the nanny's salary, up to £2500 per month. The employer can voluntarily choose to top this amount up to 100% of the nanny's salary if they wish. No nanny should be forced to continue to work if they do not feel safe to do so.

We recently introduced the idea of a Virtual Nanny which allows a nanny to work from the nanny's own home if the child's parents are working from home. Having a Virtual Nanny is something that nannies and their employers may like to consider.and the idea is already providing very popular.

My nanny is ill - do I still have to pay?

Nannies are generally employed on a PAYE basis and are entitled to the usual benefits of being employed including sickness pay.   Your contract of employment with your nanny will state how much you should pay them in the event that they are sick but it should be at least the statutory minium (SSP).  The government have stated that employees are entitled to SSP from day one of being ill.  It may be preferable to furough your nanny using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which allows the nanny to receive 80% of their regular pay, up to £2500 per month.

I'm a parent whose family is self-isolating - can my nanny still work in my home?

If you or a member of your family is self-isolating and your nanny has been in recent contact with you then it is recommended that they self-isolate too.  In these instances they may choose to self-isolate with you in your own home but they may alternatively choose to self-isolate in their own home. You would still generally be obligated to pay your nanny in full because they are unable to work due to your family's self-isolation although you may prefer to furlough your nanny using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Can a nanny be furloughed?

The government have now expressly stated that nannies can be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government have stated that Individuals can furlough employees such as nannies provided they pay them through PAYE and they were on their payroll on, or before, 28 February 2020.

As my child's school is closed, I want to use a private tutor. Is this allowed?

We are seeing increasing number of parents searching for private tutors due to worries about their childrens' education whilst they are off school. Many private tutors are now offering themselves as Virtual Tutors, providing remote tutoring via video calling platforms such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and WhatsApp. This is a safe and fun way for your children to get expert help with their studies. We have over 5000 tutors on our platform.

How do I check childcare providers are qualified and suitable?

We have a detailed online guide for parents about checking childcare providers and more information in our safety centre.

Stay Updated

We will post new updates in relation for parents about Coronavirus on this page of our website. Please check by regularly for the latest news.

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