Insurance certainty needed for childcare providers
With the childcare sector scheduled to gradually begin reopening on a phased basis later this summer under Government plans, Labour spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Seán Sherlock TD, has called for clarity regarding Covid-19 insurance arrangements for the sector.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“We saw the long-awaited childcare scheme for healthcare workers run into serious jeopardy before it even began when insurers told providers they wouldn’t be covered for Covid-19 claims.
“Labour has said from the get go that this major stumbling block needs to be sorted before this scheme can be deemed in any way workable.
“We are still waiting for clarity on this, with the childcare arrangements for healthcare workers due to begin this day next week.
“However the insurance issue relating to Covid-19 claims needs to be addressed right across the board before crèches and childcare facilities, like many other workplaces and businesses, can begin re-opening as planned later this summer.
“This is also going to become a real obstacle for schools reopening in September and is already throwing it in doubt.
“Labour is calling on the Government to provide a general indemnity for COVID-19, using the State Claims Agency, which would remove the immediate risk from insurance renewal.
“There would still be the usual reasonable care provision meaning the State could pursue reckless employers.
“Childcare providers and parents alike also need clarity on health and safety measures ahead of the phased reopening, particularly given the obvious difficulties with social distancing and small children.
“If reduced numbers or timetables are to be employed as a result, how will the fee structure be impacted for both providers and parents?
“With around 200,000 children in Early Years services, these are important issues that need to be addressed so childcare providers and parents can have confidence in the sector in a Covid-19 world.”