Key considerations for early years education providers: what can you claim from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

20th April 2020

With the opening of the portal for applications under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) launched on 20 April 2020, employers can begin processing their claims for government reimbursements towards staff pay. For further details of the CJRS, please see our previous commentary here.

As with many businesses in receipt of partial state funding in their pre-Covid-19 operations, there are restrictions on the application of the CJRS to early years education providers.

The guidance published for Education, Early Years and Social Care on 17 April, found here, is an essential resource for operators of private day care nurseries who are looking to enter the CJRS having placed employees on furlough.

It details numerous funding and financial support offerings available, and includes practical examples of how elements of staff furlough pay can be claimed for, against a background assumption that no organisation should profit from the exceptional financial support available.

It is clearly directed that a day nursery which continues to receive uninterrupted public funding should not furlough staff and claim under CJRS for staff wages in their entirety (within the scheme parameters). The guidance also details the stipulations which enable early years providers to claim for elements of staff pay not covered by free early education funding entitlements – i.e. the elements of staff pay ordinarily met by private income paid by parents for childcare beyond their free entitlement.

Practical examples are given for calculating furlough entitlements where the employee is not required in the early years setting and is therefore not involved in the delivering of providing services at the establishment.

The guidance explains the calculations process to be followed where it is difficult to distinguish between public funding and private income, enabling providers to “top up” under the CJRS for staff pay; having already received their state free entitlement funding, providers can claim for the shortfall in staff pay, akin to elements of the private parental income through the scheme.

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