Parents, Childcare & Coronavirus FAQ

19th July 2020

At we are doing everything we can to help and support parents during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Latest updates

North West of England local restrictons - You can continue to use registered childcare provision, including childminders and holiday childcare providers. You can also continue to employ nannies.

Leicester Lockdown - Childminders & Nurseries can reopen for all children from 24th July

• Childminders & nurseries in England can reopen for ALL children from Monday 1st June 2020

• Childminders in Scotland can reopen for ALL children from Wednesday 3rd June 2020

• Nannies and babysitters can provide paid childcare in a child's home

Latest guidance from the Department for Education and Ofsted

Department for Education

Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus outbreak (Updated 27th July 2020)

What parents and carers need to know about schools, colleges and other education settings during the coronavirus outbreak (Updated 21st August 2020)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings (Updated 1st June 2020)

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do (Updated 13th August 2020)

Latest Ofsted Guidance

Ofsted Coronavirus rolling update (Updated 19th August 2020)

Below is a list of some of the frequently asked questions being asked by parents.

Can childminders and nurseries open?

Yes, from Monday 1st June 2020, childminders and nurseries in England can open for all children. In Scotland childminders can open from Wednesday 3rd June 2020.

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 reduced 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. On 30th April 2020, the Competitions and Markets Authority announced that it would be investigating a number of sectors in relation to contracts with their customers.  Nurseries and childcare providers were specifically mentioned as one of the sectors being investigated due to the high number of complaints being received.

What about nannies and babsitters?

On 1st May 2020 the government provided specific guidance in relation to travelling to someone else's home to provide paid-for childcare. This says:

If you provide paid-for childcare in a child’s home, you can go to your place of work - this is in line with Government guidance that you can travel to work if working from home is not possible. However, it is important that you take as many precautions as possible in line with Public Health England guidance. Read the full guidance

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 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.

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. A number of our childcare provider advertisers are also offering a few hours of free out-hour-hours emergency childcare to NHS workers when their regular paid childcare setting is closed.

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, infrastrucure workers such as gas & electricity and some financial services staff.

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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