Advice for early learning services

Information for early learning services about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

This section was updated on Friday 22 May at 12:52 pm.

Alert Level 2

New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2 on Thursday 14 May. On Monday 18 May, all early learning services, including playcentres and playgroups, opened for on-site learning. Some services may have transitioned their children’s return over 2 days after May 18, or even slightly before, if they were ready.

Public health advice is that early learning services are safe to attend and additional public health measures are in place.

It is important that all children can come to early learning. The only exceptions are children who are sick, have any COVID-19 symptoms, are in isolation, or are awaiting the result of a test. Safe and sensible public hygiene and contact requirements will be the norm.

Special Edition Early Learning Bulletins

Special Editions of the Early Learning Bulletin are published twice a week to give up-to-date Alert Level 2 information for early learning.

Read the latest Special Edition 21 May (external link)  for information about:

  • NZ COVID Tracer App
  • Taking the temperature of children and staff when they arrive
  • Budget 2020 initiative - $151.1 million boost to education and care service funding rates
  • Update to the minimum salaries’ for certificated teachers
  • Level 2 staffing survey - Friday 22 May
  • Weekly attendance data collection update
  • Kindness for Kaiako | Teacher Wellbeing
  • Online learning resources 
  • Catchy new song for children
  • Preparing for the 2020 ECE Census.

All Special Editions can be found here: He Pānui Kōhungahunga: The Early Learning Bulletin (external link) .

Sign up to the Special Editions here: Bulletin sign-up form (external link)

Other documents

Early learning services Alert Level 2 guidance (external link)

Alert Level 2 FAQs Schools and Early Learning Centres (external link)

Other websites

COVID-19 - Ministry of Health (external link)

Childcare subsidy - Work and Income (external link)

Labour Inspectorate - Employment New Zealand (external link)

 

Alert Level 3

Below is the guidance we gave early learning services in Alert Level 3, which was from 28 April to 14 May 2020.

What was it like for an early learning teacher returning to work at her centre in Alert Level 3? Read the interviewA teacher's first day back [PDF, 254 KB].

Alert Level 3 guidance for Early Learning Services [PDF, 708 KB]

COVID-19 wage subsidy

If your revenue has fallen by 30% or more, you may be eligible for the COVID-19 wage subsidy (external link)  to help pay your staff during the lockdown. This subsidy is paid by Work and Income.

Work and Income COVID-19 wage subsidy (external link)

If you receive the subsidy, you are expected to do your absolute best to pay your early learning staff hopefully at 100%, but certainly at least 80% of their usual wage/salary. If for some reason you can’t pay at least 80%, you must pay the employee at least the full value of the subsidy (unless that’s more than what the employee would usually get, in which case pay the employee what they usually get). 

You can expect employees to continue working from home if and as required under these conditions. For example, teachers and educators could send helpful info and tips to support families at home with their children’s individual needs, or work on the curriculum. 

Work and Income is receiving a high volume of calls, so please be patient if you call them. Have a look at their website if you need information in the first instance.

COVID-19 wage subsidy for contractors and self-employed staff 

Contractors and self-employed staff need to apply for the subsidy themselves. They need to declare that they have had a 30% revenue loss at the time of application.

COVID-19 wage subsidy for relief teachers

It depends on whether or not the relief teacher is employed by you, is contracted or self-employed, or works for an agency. Please see the different types of employment in the table below, showing who should apply for the wage subsidy in each scenario.

COVID-19 wage subsidy for relief teachers with multiple employers

If a relief teacher has multiple employers, including being a contractor or self-employed, each employer can apply for the wage subsidy for the same relief teacher, so long as they meet the other conditions for the scheme, such as a 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue.  

Here’s some examples of scenarios that might apply:

Situation

Who claims for the wage subsidy?

Jo works for one single independent early learning service provider

The early learning provider should list Jo in its application for the wage subsidy.

Anika works for several single independent ECE service providers

Multiple early learning providers can all name Anika in their applications.

Hana works for one large umbrella service provider who have their own pool of relievers

The umbrella provider should list Hana in its application for the wage subsidy.

Mei is on the books of a relief teacher agency

This will depend on whether Mei is legally employed by the agency. Relief teacher agencies are eligible to apply. She should check with the agency if she is unsure.

Chris is independent, i.e. works for herself as a sole trader

As a sole trader/self-employed, Chris can apply on her own behalf.

Eddie works in a combination of above scenarios, and/or a school

Eddie can be listed on multiple employer applications and as a sole trader/self-employed.

COVID-19 wage subsidy for fluctuating hours 

By nature, relief teachers’ hours of work vary. The Work and Income website has some information on working out what rate to apply for when submitting an application and how to calculate the subsidy. 

Note that only businesses that meet certain criteria are eligible to receive the wage subsidy. To check if you are eligible, refer to the Work and Income website.

Wage Subsidy - Work and Income (external link)
Common questions on the Wage Subsidy - Work and Income (external link)

Other financial assistance

If you are not eligible for the wage subsidy, there is other emergency Work and Income assistance available.

Work and Income emergency COVID-19 pages (external link)  

MSD childcare subsidy

The Ministry of Social Development Childcare Subsidy paid to providers on behalf of their clients (parents and caregivers) was temporarily suspended from 6 April 2020.  This is because they have no legal authority to continue these payments while early learning services are closed.

The Minister of Education has obtained additional support to assist those services who would normally receive the Childcare Subsidy.

Eligible services will receive a lump sum grant in lieu of the Childcare Subsidy. The grant will be based on an average of the Childcare Subsidy, received in the three weeks prior to the lockdown.

The grant will cover the whole period of Covid-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4 from the time the Childcare Subsidy was suspended on 6 April.

A number of early learning services have received the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy on the basis of no longer receiving the Childcare Subsidy.

The lump sum grant may mean these services are no longer eligible for the Wage Subsidy. Therefore, the grant will be provided on an opt-in basis to avoid services receiving both and having to pay one back.

Although the Childcare Subsidy is normally paid by MSD, the Ministry will administer this grant and will contact eligible services asking whether you want to opt-in to receive this grant. We expect to pay the grant to service providers on 2 June 2020.

MSD sincerely hope you can hold enrolments for their clients open until we move into a reduced COVID-19 Alert Level (external link)  

They’re also working on the expectation that you will not be charging parent fees during this time.

If you have any questions about the MSD Childcare Subsidy, please call the MSD Provider Line on 0800 776 843.

If you have any questions about the Childcare grant in lieu, please direct your query to ECE.info@education.govt.nz

Employment/workforce issues

If your employees are working from home

For many businesses and workers, there is a lot of work that can still be done at home during lockdown. If an employer asks an employee to work from home, the employee should consider this request in good faith, bearing in mind the circumstances at home and whether they can do this safely.

Activities you might want to ask your staff to think about:

  • Write learning stories
  • Take notes on any children’s behavioural needs
  • Send individualised info and tips to families to support children at home
  • Plan and work on the curriculum
  • Get appraisals and teacher registration up to date
  • Engage in professional development
  • Video themselves reading a book or singing songs, and upload to a platform like Storypark (external link)  and Educa (external link)  for children to watch from home.

Read more on the Employment NZ website about changing an employee’s working arrangements.

Changing an employee’s working arrangements – Employment New Zealand website (external link)  

Can staff working from home take leave during lockdown?

New Zealanders are not able to go on holiday during the Alert Level 3, but nevertheless the question of leave may come up. Arrangements should be made in good faith, with the needs of your service weighed against the well-being of your staff.

All employers, including those using the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme, must follow legal requirements when making decisions about leave. They cannot unlawfully require or compel employees named in their COVID-19 wage subsidy application to use their leave entitlements.

Employers and employees may agree to annual leave during temporary closures of a workplace, such as during the lockdown. If an employer and employee cannot agree, an employer may direct annual leave be taken if the employee has a leave entitlement and they have first discussed this with the employee and provided 14 days’ notice. (Note that employees only become entitled to annual leave at the end of every 12 months of employment. Employees can’t be directed to take annual leave they are accruing in their current year of employment). Please note that employees must also be given the opportunity to take at least two weeks of their annual holidays continuously.

Read more on the Employment NZ website about taking annual holidays (external link)  

Employee disputes

If you have a dispute with an employee, or have an employment/payroll problem, please contact the Labour Inspectorate through the Ministry of Innovation, Business and Employment website.

Please bear in mind that it is a small team dealing with a lot of queries, and that they will get back to you as soon as they can.

Labour Inspectorate – Employment New Zealand website (external link)

Parent fees and rent charges

We appreciate that many parents and families are facing considerable pressures at this time, including substantial or complete loss of income. Paying additional fees may be not be possible for some.

The Government is continuing to support early learning service providers through ECE funding subsidy with no clawbacks during the lockdown period, and access to the Covid-19 Wage subsidy.

Therefore we ask you to seriously reconsider charging parent fees at this time. 

Meeting rent payments

We understand that the current situation is difficult for everyone. We also recognise that we have asked services to review policies of collecting parent fees at this time, which may place additional financial stress on some early learning services. 

We are aware that some early learning services with commercial lease agreements have advised their landlords they will be stopping rent payments during this lockdown period, or have asked their landlords for rent relief. 

As ECE operational funding will continue to be paid to early learning services as usual, and with some services having access to additional COVID-19 age subsidy support from Work and Income, we strongly encourage tenants (services) and landlords to constructively work through options together in good faith. 

Good faith means dealing with each other honestly, openly, and without misleading each other. Like all relationships it requires parties to be active, responsive and communicative.

If you have a commercial lease agreement for your early learning service, you may like to seek independent legal advice about the agreement obligations.

Stay up to date with COVID-19 information for businesses:

COVID-19 - Business.govt.nz (external link)

Wellbeing and welfare of children and families

We have updated the wellbeing information on our website (external link)  to better reflect how the COVID-19 response has changed over the last weeks. Included in there are three new tip sheets which you can share with parents, caregivers and teachers:

If you know someone who might be struggling in your early learning service community, there are a large range of supports in place that may be able to assist including:

Information in languages other than English:

If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call NZ Police on 111. 

If you are worried about a child and want to make a referral or report of concern, call Oranga Tamariki using 0508 EDASSIST (0508 332 774) or email edassist@ot.govt.nz.

Food assistance

If you are aware there are people in your community who cannot get access to essential goods such as food, they can contact the local Emergency Coordination Centres (ECC), part of Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Groups. These groups coordinate the regional multi-agency response and provide a range of support activities.  This is intended for people who don’t have any other options available to them and operates 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm.

CDEM Group 0800 numbers for essential supplies - National Emergency Management Agency website (external link)

You can also email the following people/contacts:

Further welfare supports include:

  • The All of Government Welfare Number (0800 779 997) is available 7 days a week, providing welfare information and support for individuals in isolation.
  • The Government has made additional funding available to support the wellbeing of disabled people who usually access MSD funded Community Participation and Very High Needs services. Refer Disability Directorate update for 30 March 2020.
  • Further information on MSD supports Supporting providers through COVID-19 - Ministry of Social Development (external link) .
  • Careers NZ and IHC have launched wecare.kiwi to make it easy to care for and about each other. If you’re on your own during the lockdown, or caring for a vulnerable person, you may need some support – We Care Kiwi website (external link) .
  • A Government factsheet with detail regarding welfare support is available on COVID-19.govt.nz website. Getting the help and support you need (external link)  [PDF, 961KB].

Licence applications

Licence applications that have been received prior to the lockdown period cannot be progressed if a site visit is still required, as licensing staff are not listed as essential workers. It will not be possible for other applications to be progressed within the usual 30 working day timeframe, and we will not be issuing probationary licences until the lockdown period has been lifted. Unless you were licensed prior to the lockdown, you cannot receive funding. Regional staff will contact you as soon as they can after the lockdown is lifted.

Future licence applications 

You can continue to send future licence applications to local regional offices via email, but applications will not be progressed until after the lockdown period. As noted above, licensing staff are not listed as essential workers so are not able to complete an on-site visit during the lockdown period.  It is unlikely that applications will be able to be processed within the usual 30 working day timeframe once the lockdown is lifted.  Please be aware that applicants may also face difficulties in obtaining all required information for a new application such as health reports, fire evacuation schemes and confirmation of building requirements.

Once the lockdown is lifted we will be prioritising assisting existing licensed services to resume operations. Regional offices may be able to assess applications but will advise you of their capacity on receipt of your application.

Licence amendments

We may be able to be process licenses to be amended by regional offices that you send via email. These will be assessed on a case by case basis depending on the nature of the amendment sought. Regional staff will advise you of their capacity to complete these on receipt of your application.

Applications to change the identity of the service provider will be processed on a case by case basis depending on the licence status, any regulatory action pending, and any other concerns about the licence or service provider as required by regulations. Vendors and purchasers should seek legal advice in light of New Zealand Law Society guidance that all settlements should be deferred until 10 working days after a level 2 alert is imposed, and that any settlement involving physical movement of people is considered unlawful during lockdown.  

Other licence applications

We are working on our responses to other licence reclassifications, including for services looking to move to full licences from provisional or probationary licence status during this time. Further guidance will be issued. In the meantime we ask that you are patient with us. 

Children starting school 

You may have some children at your service who have been preparing to start school during this lockdown period. Legally, a child can start school from age 5, and must be enrolled from age 6.

We encourage you to talk to parents and families about transition for these children and what their preferences at this time may be. They may prefer to keep their children enrolled with your service for longer, rather than enrolling in school at this time. This would help reduce any stress that some children and parents might be experiencing about starting school. 

Parents / families who want to enrol their children in school, and those with children about to turn 6, should discuss with their intended schools about any transition and support available at this time.

Children turning 5 

A child has a legal right to enrol and “attend” school from age 5 (taking into account any cohort entry provisions a school has put in place).  You can let parents know they have the option to delay enrolment, having the next 12 months (until their child’s 6th birthday) to meet their legal obligations.

If parents choose to delay their child’s enrolment at school, we will continue to fund services and ngā kohānga reo while they remain enrolled in early learning until the day before their 6th birthday.

Children turning 6

From the age of 6 there is a legal requirement for every child to be enrolled and to attend a registered school. There are no provisions in the emergency legislation that suspends that requirement, so if a child turns 6 during the lockdown they need to be enrolled in a school.  

Documents required

For parents who choose to enrol their children in school at this time, schools usually ask to sight evidence such as birth certificates to facilitate the enrolment process. Sighting documentation such as a birth certificate isn’t practicable at this time.  However a photograph of the document or provision of the child’s NSN number could support their enrolment. It would be helpful if you could let the parents of these children know the NSN for their child. This can be passed on to the school to support enrolment during the lockdown period. The school will either complete the enrolment remotely or maintain a manual record until the child starts to attend in person.

Parents will make the final decision about what is best for their children at this time, however it would be beneficial for parents to know that the option to keep them at their service is available.

Learning support and resources

We know you want to find ways to support families and their children’s learning while they are at home during lockdown. There are no official requirements as to what this can look like, and we encourage you to make the most of your communication channels, ability to work from home, and the learning resources we are making available.

Learning support staff 

Yes, our learning support staff are available to support services and families during the lockdown period. You can set up online meetings with our early intervention staff via Zoom and Skype.

Our support staff will continue to check in with children and their caregivers and whanau. We’ll also check in with kaiako where possible, to provide guidance and support.

While this may look different to the support we usually provide, we’ll continue to work with the adults in the children’s lives to help support children’s daily routines. This may include ongoing coaching conversations with parents to help them adjust actions and plans and celebrate successes.

Resources for learning from home

We’ve launched two new websites to support the children and young people’s learning, their families and staff in early learning: 

Learning from home (external link)
Ki te Ao Mārama (external link)

Please encourage your staff and families to visit and make use of these websites, which we will continue to update with new resources.

The Inclusive Education website (external link)  has 28 guides to help recognise, plan for and meet the learning and wellbeing needs of diverse learners. 


The Learning Support Coordinators - Education Conversation website (external link)  will take you to resources that may be useful for teachers. Topics include partnering with parents and whānau.

If you have any ideas for wellbeing and learning at home resources and tip sheets that would help others please contact learning.supportmailbox@education.govt.nz or phone the Learning Support enquiries line at 0800 622 222.

Please contact your local office (external link)  if you’re concerned about a child or young person’s learning support needs during lockdown.

Professional development

If you run an immersion or bilingual centre, you may be eligible for Whakapiki i te reo (external link) . This is a 6-12 month professional development programme. For enquiries, contact Shane Walsh at S.Walsh2@massey.ac.nz.

Some educators recommend the free Pennie Brownlee (external link)  and Kimberley Crisp (external link)  podcasts.

Please contact your local regional SELO lead for further professional development opportunities:

Tai Tokerau

sacha.cherrington@education.govt.nz
09 436 8929

Auckland

sarah.morrison@education.govt.nz
09 632 9528

ngawai.beazley@education.govt.nz
09 632 9579

Waikato

terri.burridge@education.govt.nz
07 858 7172

Bay of Plenty/Rotorua/Taupo

renee.cleaver@education.govt.nz 
07 349 8319

Hawke's Bay/Tairawhiti

helen.keats@education.govt.nz
06 831 0660

Taranaki/Whanganui/Manawatū 

sarah.brindle@education.govt.nz
06 350 9856

Wellington

marnie.hainsworth@education.govt.nz
04 463 7575

angela.coutts@education.govt.nz
04 439 4629

Nelson/Marlborough/West Coast

megan.edwards@education.govt.nz
03 539 1528

Canterbury

paul.habinshuti@education.govt.nz
03 378 7522

Otago/Southland

julie.crosswell@education.govt.nz
03 471 5218

Flutracking

Flutracking is an online survey which asks if you have had a fever or cough in the last week and which can help us track COVID-19. Registering online will help our surveillance efforts by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms.
 
We encourage people to register online at https://info.flutracking.net/ (external link) .
 
This is a practical thing everyone can do to help us monitor flu and COVID-19 symptoms throughout NZ.

Funding

The Ministry have been supportive to date by confirming there would be no funding clawbacks while in lockdown under Alert Level 4. Will that be extended to Alert Level 3?

Yes, the funding arrangements made for the Alert Level 4 lockdown will continue for Alert Level 3 in order to calculate early learning services’ 1 July 2020 funding.

Will we still receive wash-up in the July funding payment if the booked hours are higher than the advance funding provided? 

Your wash-up calculation and payment 01 July 2020 (for the period February – May 2020) will be maintained at the existing level - even if actual attendance is lower than originally forecast.

Do we continue to use the Emergency Closure code in our SMS for Alert Level 3?

Yes, services who remain closed during Alert Level 3 can continue to use the Emergency Closure code in their student management systems or on their paper-based RS7 submissions.

How do we fill in attendance forms during Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3?

If your service opens during Alert Level 3 you can continue to mark those children in attendance as you would under normal circumstances.

If your service remains closed then children can continue to be marked as absent and will continue to be funded under the blanket exemption to the three week rule for continuous absence that was provided for Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3.

How will ECE operational funding be calculated during Alert Level 3?  What funding are we guaranteed?

Where parents or caregivers need to, they can send their children to an early learning service. If a service has identified children enrolled who require care during Alert Level 3 the Ministry encourages those services to consider opening where no alternative arrangements can be made and as long as public health measures can be maintained.

(NB: Services that are not able to operate safely within the parameters set by the public health measures should remain closed. Please contact the Ministry of Education if this applies to your service so that we can assist you where possible).

Services will continue to be funded during Level 3 and will receive an advance funding payment in the 1 July 2020 funding round. This will include funding for those services who do not open during Alert Level 3.

ECE operational funding will be maintained at the existing level even if actual attendance is lower than originally forecast. Where actual enrolment data results in negative wash-ups being calculated for the period 01 February to 31 May 2020, the Ministry will offset the negative wash-ups for this period.

Will absence rules come into effect, or will we still get funded at our normal rates?

Permanently enrolled children who do not attend during Alert Level 3 will be entitled to the EC12 exemption. The adjustment to this rule will apply from 1 February through until 31 May and begins on the first day of a continuous absence of longer than 3 weeks. It provides an exemption for all children to allow services to claim funding for enrolled but absent children for up to 12 weeks. Services do not need to complete an EC12 form for children permanently enrolled at the service.

Will the funding approach take account of the likely partial return of children?

Yes, the provisions that we have put in place will cover the partial attendance of children at early learning services. Under Alert Level 3 permanently enrolled children who do not immediately return to their enrolled hours will continue to be funded for them.

What happens to the exemption to the continuous absence rule if some children come back and others don’t?

You can continue to apply the exemption to the absence rules to all permanently enrolled children who remain absent during this funding period.

What if services cannot maintain their attestation rate?  Will their funding rate drop?

Services will be expected to meet attested salary rates for the entire funding period in order to access higher funding rates. If salary reductions are required to remain viable, services should look at whether a reduction in staff hours can be negotiated rather than reducing pay rates.

What if no parents send their children back to our service under Alert Level 3, will we continue to be funded?

Yes, funding for services will continue where services remain closed by using the Emergency Closure code. If you opened expecting to receive children whose parents had indicated required care, but they did not attend, then use the Service Open code in your student management system.

If a service decides to remain closed in Alert Level 3 will funding still continue at pre-lockdown levels, as with Alert Level 4?

Where parents or caregivers need to, they can send their children to an early learning service. If a service has identified children enrolled who require care during Alert Level 3 the Ministry encourages those services to consider opening where no alternative arrangements can be made and as long as public health measures can be maintained.

Funding for early learning services will continue even if a service remains closed during Alert Level 3. The same funding arrangements will apply as during Alert Level 4 lockdown.

Please mark the days your service would ordinarily have been open, but was closed during the COVID-19 Alert Level 3, as an emergency closure in your student management system (SMS).

If your service is normally closed on school or public holidays, for the Alert Level 4 and 3 periods we are asking you to mark these as holiday period (HP) for school term and statutory holidays (SH).

If we can reopen, but can’t take as many children as usual will we still get full funding? How will our funding be impacted by our enrolments going up and down?

Providing the exemption to the three week rule for continuous absences allowing a 12 week continuous absence for all children will help to maintain enrolment Levels.  The new space requirements while at Alert Level 3 will not limit funding for services who usually operate at maximum capacity in normal circumstances. Services will continue to be funded for enrolled children up to their existing licence maximum.

If actual numbers of children who choose to attend is fewer than the enrolled numbers will services have to repay some of their funding?

Where actual enrolment data results in negative wash-ups being calculated for the period 01 February to 31 May 2020, the Ministry will write off any shortfall or difference to ensure that services do not receive a negative wash-up payment in the 1 July 2020 ECE operational funding payment.

As advance funding paid on 2 March 2020 was based on average funded child hours (FCH) for October 2019 to January 2020 it may not reflect actual attendance for February to May 2020.

If actual attendance during February to May 2020 is less than average FCH paid in advance on 2 March 2020, you will not be required to pay this back.

If actual attendance during February to May 2020 is higher than average FCH paid in advance on 2 March 2020, this will be funded through the usual wash-up process. This also applies to early learning services on monthly funding.

I run a playgroup and we still can’t open under Alert Level 3, will we continue to be funded?

Funding will continued to be paid to playgroups. If you had already submitted your funding request for the January – June 2020 period via the Education Resourcing System (ERS) prior to 25 March it does not need to be changed. If you have not yet submitted your funding request, enter the number of sessions that you would have expected to be open as if the Alert Level 4 lockdown and subsequent restrictions at Alert Level 3 had not taken place. 

If a child is aged 6 and hasn’t started school yet can they still be funded in our early learning service?

Funding can be claimed only for children who fill a child-place and are less than 6 years of age. Children should not attend early learning services from the day of their sixth birthday.

From the age of 6 there is a legal requirement for every child to be enrolled and to attend a registered school. There are no provisions in the emergency legislation that suspends that requirement, so if a child turns 6 during the lockdown they need to be enrolled in a school. 

Centres who rely on donations are hearing from parents they can no longer afford to donate. How will they survive?

Ministry of Education operational funding will continue to be paid to all early learning service providers. The COVID-19 wage subsidy is also available, where criteria are met. Both of these funding streams together support service providers to retain and pay their staff.

Employers that receive the COVID-19 wage subsidy must do their very best to retain their employees and pay them preferably 100% of the usual salary/wage, or at least 80% of it. If 80% is not possible, the employer must pass on at least the full value of the wage subsidy, unless that’s more than what the employee is usually paid, in which case pay what’s usually paid.

Now that we are in Alert Level 3, can we start charging fees again?

Alert Level 3 requires children to be kept at home where there is adequate supervision for them to do so.

Many parents, whānau and caregivers are facing considerable pressures during this difficult time for the whole country. For some, the requirement to pay additional fees is a burden, especially if faced with substantial or complete loss of income. If children are not attending during Alert Level 3 we ask that you seriously review your policy of collecting parent fees. 

Will kōhanga reo be funded based on enrolment or attendance only?

Kōhanga will be funded as if children had attended as expected or enrolled in the funding period were it not for the COVID-19 Alert Level 3 restrictions. Services should ensure that their enrolment records are up to date within their Kōhanga Information System (KIS) so that calculations can be made correctly.

Please contact the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust for further information.

If a child is only able to attend one early learning service during Alert Level 3 but they are normally enrolled at two services, who will be funded?

If a child is permanently enrolled at two services for different parts of the week, both services are able to claim funding as per their usual funding arrangements. To keep bubbles small, a child may only attend one early learning service during Alert Level 3.

Will we get funding for the teacher-only day on April 28?

Yes, you can continue to use the Emergency Closure code even if staff will be on site for a teacher only day on Tuesday 28 April 2020.

What will happen to the November funding payment?

We have a lot of details that we need to work through for the next couple of months and at this stage getting the 1 July payment to services is our priority. No decisions have been made about further funding arrangements and details regarding these will depend on the Alert Levels over the coming weeks and months. We encourage services to keep an eye out for future Early Learning Bulletins, which will communicate important funding information.   

Where do we stand with PAYE, GST and Provisional tax?

The Government announced a further set of tax proposals to help businesses manage the impacts of COVID-19. You can read more about these changes on their website. (external link)

Services should attempt to honour all current tax arrangements. We encourage services to contact Inland Revenue if they think they will struggle to meet their current commitments.

Is commercial rent relief on its way?

We understand that the current situation is especially difficult for small and medium sized businesses. We also recognise that we have asked services to review policies on collecting parent fees at this time, which may place additional financial stress on some early learning services. 

As the Ministry of Education’s operational funding will continue to be paid to early learning services as usual, and with some services having access to additional COVID-19 wage subsidy support from Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education will not be providing any additional support for rent relief.  If you have not already done so, we would recommend that you talk to your landlord about your particular situation.

Home-based educators

Please note that educators who are contractors or self-employed need to apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy themselves, rather than the home-based service they contract to or get work from.
To qualify for the wage subsidy, all applicants must also be able to meet other key criteria, such as:

  • At least 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue (over the period of a month when compared with the same month last year), due to the effects of COVID-19
  • Taking active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their business
  • Making best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidy period.

 

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