Despite COVID-19 (coronavirus), Early Childhood Ireland’s Early Years Employer Service (EYES) is here to support you and can be contacted Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, by phone on (01) 405 7103 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. The EYES team is here to help with a range of issues related to the running of an early years and school aged service, including your questions on COVID-19 (coronavirus). If you can’t get us, please leave a message with your name and phone number and someone will call you back when they are available.
Wage Subsidy Scheme Rate Increase
A reminder to our members that as of 4 May 2020 the rate for Revenue’s Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) has increased from 70% to 85%, so members should check with their payroll providers when processing payroll that this has been accounted for. The most recent Revenue FAQ’s can be found here, the DCYA FAQ’s here and the How To Guide here.
Probation and the COVID-19 Closure Period
Many of our members may well have taken on staff in early 2020 with probation periods of 6 months and who have now been presented with the closure from 12 March, during which the probationary periods of new staff are due to end.
Members should know that during this closure period, probation should be paused as performance is not capable of being assessed. It can restart once services reopen again and work can begin. It is important to make contact with your staff member, inform them of the pause of the probation period, and outline the revised date for completion of probation. This date should not extend beyond 11 months and members should be mindful of the unfair dismissal’s legislation and recent case law in relation to management of probation. Once you reopen then it is important to meet the staff member to update any work or performance improvement plans with your staff member. Throughout the process, employers should link in with their staff members to ensure that they are settling into the setting, particularly during once the setting reopens.
For any specific queries on probation, such as assessing staff, extending probation or running through your options, please contact the EYES Team.
Things to consider when reopening: water supplies and legionella
Legionnaires disease is caused by the bacteria legionella, which can breed in water sources like pipes, water tanks and other water fittings like taps and showerheads. Legionella can become a problem in these water fittings and sources during periods of low use. As such, early years and school aged services that have closed due to COVID-19 may find themselves particularly at risk and so should include the presence of legionella in any reopening risk assessments. If you are unsure, contact the installer of your water tank, boiler or other water sources.
The following steps should be taken in your service to prevent the build-up of legionella:
- Water heaters should heat water to 60 degrees minimum.
- All water storage tanks that have not been in use should be flushed out and cleaned.
- Check for any stagnation in all water tanks and look to avoid or reduce this through regular use by running water through taps at below 20c or above 50c.
- All pipes, fittings and taps should be cleaned before human consumption or use after a period of disuse.
With the phased reopening of childcare services outlined in the government road map, we would advise all members to take the necessary precautions before taking children or staff into the service and accessing water for consumption or use
Do you have a question for the Early Years Employer Service team?
Please submit your question below and see it featured in upcoming EYES updates in Early Times Weekly.
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