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What it means for those providing care and support of the children of essential workers due to Covid-19

family money worriesSome ECE providers are set to receive a possible financial windfall to provide care for the children (0 – 14 years) of essential workers during the 4-week lockdown.

While details have yet to be released, it looks like the payment providers will get will be on top of, and not instead of, the ECE funding which the government has promised to continue paying. 

While home-based ECE services have funding continuance, most people working as educators in the home-based sector have no protection as employees meaning that if there are no children they will have no income.   

So, what does this mean for the people providing the care?

People will need to weigh up the following things:

  • What will pay more – the government wage subsidy or caring for the children of an essential worker?  "If I’m taking on new work then this will mean missing out on the wage subsidy that other educators are getting who are not working during the lockdown?"
  • What about your health, the health of people close to you and your finances if you get Covid-19 as a result of including the family of an essential worker in your bubble? "How would I feel if my child or someone in my household caught the virus because of my decision to include the children, the essential worker and the people living in the essential workers household in my bubble?"

Porse owner Rrahul Dossh told that NZ Herald that “all of his 1200 home-based educators and his 200 centre-based teachers” were available. "Wherever the essential workers are, we will come to the party and do our part."

What options are available to employees such as teachers in centres and home-based Visiting Teachers should they not wish to or not be able to comply with an employer’s instruction to provide for the care of children of an essential worker? Go to the Early Childhood Education Q & A employment and financial Covid-19 sheet for an answer here.

Note that:

  • This is for child supervision – a babysitting service - and it is not about providing early childhood education. The ECE regulations do not apply.
  • So, its strange that the Ministry of Education and not the MSD is making provision for this.
  • Porse, Barnardos and Edubase (Home Grown Kids & Kids at Home brands) are being funded to provide babysitting in the family or in the caregiver’s home. Any ECE service provider who can supply staff is encouraged by the Ministry of Education to contact one of the three contract holders.

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