Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector

Last updated: 4 Oct 2021 - see all updates
Published: 22 Dec 2020

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19): support to childcare sector


This information applies to private and third sector childcare providers and childminders, and sets out the range of business and financial support that has been made available to childcare sector.

The Scottish Government has undertaken a Financial Sustainability Health Check to collect evidence on the sustainability of the childcare sector, in particular in light of the impacts of COVID-19.

The findings were published on 31 August 2021 and set out in Financial Sustainability Health Check of the Childcare Sector in Scotland. Alongside this a supporting Analysis and Evidence paper has also been published.

Financial support for childcare providers

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme all UK employers with a PAYE scheme can access support to safeguard workers from being made redundant. Employers can furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked.

For claims relating to September 2021, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30 September 2021. Claims for September must be submitted on or before 14 October 2021 and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.

Childminding services should note that claims for the fifth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant have now closed. The last date for making a claim was 30 September 2021.

Funding follows the child and the national standard for early learning and childcare providers: interim guidance.

Updated Interim Guidance was published on 24 March 2021 setting out the requirements on early learning and childcare settings and local authorities regarding the implementation of Funding Follows the Child and the National Standard for ELC providers from August 2021.

This includes interim guidance on the setting of sustainable rates for the delivery of funded early learning and childcare in the context of the impacts of COVID-19.

As part of the Health Check exercise we have also collected updated information from all local authorities on the sustainable rates that they have set for their funded providers in the private, third and childminding sectors to deliver funded ELC

Charging policies

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a statement in August 2020 setting out its views on how the law applies to cancelled consumer contracts and refunds during the COVID-19 pandemic. This should be read in conjunction with the advice and open letter the CMA published in July 2020 specifically in relation to the early years sector, setting out its views on the way consumer protection law applies where services cannot be provided due to public health restrictions.

For more information, please see a note reflecting the CMA’s advice regarding existing contract terms that provide for low level payments in respect of costs, or other voluntary arrangements that parents and providers may fairly agree, when the service cannot be provided for example because a setting is closed or a child is self-isolating.

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First published: 22 Dec 2020 Last updated: 4 Oct 2021 -