Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector

Published: 31 Jul 2020
Last updated: 31 Jul 2020 - see all updates

Guidance on the daycare services for children in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector
Private and third sector providers: financial support

Private and third sector providers: business and financial support

This guidance applies to private and third sector childcare providers and sets out the range of business support that is available.  

On 10 July Scotland entered Phase 3 of the route map for recovery from COVID-19.

From Wednesday 15 July all childcare settings can reopen, if they wish to do so.

To support a safe reopening of these settings, we issued guidance for ELC services on 15 June.

Updated guidance was issued on 30 July which will apply from 10 August. This will ease the current restrictions on small group working (‘bubbles’) and ease the ban on attending different settings (blended placements).

This guidance applies to all providers of registered day care of children’s services, including nurseries, playgroups, family centres and crèches who provide care to children under school age. Bespoke guidance has also been published for fully outdoor services, childminding services and school age childcare services.

Overview of available support

All private and third sector providers who provide funded ELC in their settings have continued to receive payments from their local authority for these funded ELC hours during the closure period.

Private and third sector providers will be able to access support measures. Find out more at: Find Business Support or contact the Scottish Government’s business helpline on 0300 303 0660.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme all UK employers with a PAYE scheme can access support to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Scheme will remain open until 31 October 2020. Make a claim on

The scheme:

  • applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’ and were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020
  • can be accessed even if you are remaining open to deliver emergency childcare (but have had to ask some members of staff to stop working)
  • from 1 July, enables employers to bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim support for their normal hours not worked. When claiming a grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 calendar days.
  • Reimburses costs through HMRC as follows:
    • until end of July 80% of eligible furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay
    • in August 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500, whilst employers will pay the associated employer National Insurance and pension contributions
    • in September, 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay the associated employer National Insurance and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up the 80% total up to a cap of £2,500
    • in October 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay the associated employer National Insurance and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up the 80% total up to a cap of £2,500
  • employers can continue to fully furlough employees if they wish. Employees cannot undertake any work for you during time that you record as them being on furlough
  • further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims was published by the UK Government on 12 June

The UK Government published specific guidance  for early years providers in England, which included information on accessing support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. While this guidance is for England only, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a UK-wide scheme administered by HM Revenue & Customs.

The key information for providers in Scotland is:

  • You can receive support through both: (1) continued payments for statutory (funded) ELC hours; and (2) the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Support cannot be claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for staff costs that already covered by other forms of public funding (the payments for statutory ELC hours).
  • You can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to cover up to the proportion of your pay bill which could be considered to have been paid from private income.
  • The guidance advises that providers should initially use the month of February 2020 to represent their usual income in calculating the proportion of its pay bill eligible to be covered by the scheme.
  • For example, if 40% of your average monthly income was from payments for the funded entitlements and 60% from other income, the you could claim Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme support for up to 60% of your total pay bill. This would be done by furloughing staff whose usual salary / combined salaries come to no greater than 60% of your total pay bill.
  • You can change these proportions in subsequent furloughing applications if your income from the statutory ELC hours changes compared to February (and would therefore result in an increase or decrease in the share of your income from funded hours in February).

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

If you are a small or medium-sized business then you may be able to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of your turnover through the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. The maximum loan available is £50,000.The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Alternatively the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme allows small and medium sized businesses to access a loan which is interest free for the first 12 months and has no upfront fees. The scheme is being delivered through commercial lenders. To apply, you should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers offering the scheme as soon as possible to discuss your business plan with them.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

Small and medium-sized businesses, those with fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020, can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ Statutory Sick Pay per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus. The online service to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available.

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.

VAT payments

In addition, Value Added Tax (VAT) payments will be deferred until 31 March 2021. If you’ve missed, or are worried about missing, your next tax payment due to coronavirus, please contact HMRC. You can also call the HMRC helpline for advice on 0800 024 1222.

Non-domestic rates

If you're struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill then you may be able to defer payment.

You should contact your local authority and ask them about your payment options, and can find more at help with non-domestic rates during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Third Sector Resilience Fund

Third sector providers may also be able to access support through the Scottish Government’s Third Sector Resilience Fund.

The fund is now open and you can apply on the SCVO website: Third Sector Resilience Fund.



First published: 31 Jul 2020 Last updated: 31 Jul 2020 -