The changing climate of coronavirus has left practitioners grappling for answers. Digital platform provider Famly held a free online conference on 8 April.
A key area of confusion for employers was the Job Retention Scheme. Guidelines state employees cannot make money or provide services for their employer while they are furloughed. Red Wing Solutions’ Imogen Edmunds warned that HMRC could view contacting parents while on furlough as work. She suggested treating furloughed staff in the same way as those on maternity or sick leave.
Training is allowed during furlough, but HMRC states that staff put on training must receive ‘at least their appropriate minimum wage for the time spent training’. Ms Edmunds advised managers to ‘keep it simple’ and suggested staff read training materials or complete online training, but not insist they do a minimum number of hours a day.
In terms of funding, MBK Training early years director Tricia Wellings said it was important setting owners seek information from their local authority. She also encouraged owners to lobby local authorities for more financial support, and to extend the period for which parents currently in receipt of 30-hours funding could claim the support. She pointed out that many would become ineligible as a result of changes to their employment status.
On asking parents to make financial contributions to settings which have closed, The Nice Boss founder and Beeston Nursery owner Roopam Carroll said she wrote to parents asking them for 20 per cent of fees. She explained costs incurred, such as contracting the setting’s music teacher to provide online music sessions.
To see the conference, visit https://bit.ly/3aY9CEM