Latest Covid-19 information

With the changes to the COVID-19 Alert Levels, here is an update. Remember, be kind to each other and stay safe - kia kaha!

The Ministry is sending regular Early Learning Bulletins. You can read these here.

In addition, summarised information is available on our website here, and below are some useful reminders.  Also please let us know if there is anything we can assist you with. 

 

Wage Subsidy and Leave Support Benefits

Wage Subsidy

The criteria for the new wage subsidy is similar to the current extension, which was to lapse on September 1.

  • Businesses must have had, or are predicting to have, a revenue drop due to Covid-19 of at least 40 percent.
  • For this new scheme, the revenue drop applies for any consecutive period of at least 14 days within August 12 and September 14 compared to last year.

The subsidies will help employers pay wages for a period of two weeks.

Businesses will be able to apply for the new round of subsidies from Friday 21 August.

 Leave Support

The Government has removed the need for businesses to show a revenue-drop in order to qualify for the Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme.

This means businesses with workers who have been told by health officials or their medical practitioner to self-isolate will receive the equivalent of the wage subsidy to help cover that person’s wages for the time they cannot be at work. This applies to staff who are “vulnerable” under the government’s definition during Covid-19, i.e. they are not sick, but are at a higher risk of getting the virus because of a pre-existing health condition.

 Managing vulnerable or unwell staff 

Staff who are unwell should not be at your centre. They can go on sick leave if they have eligibility and can provide you with a medical certificate (if you request this).
Staff who are otherwise well and able to work, but cannot because you are closed, or who choose not to work because of apprehension over staying safe, can work from home, but you must give them things to do.

You cannot require staff to take annual leave. You can only make a staff member take annual leave after having given them 14 days prior notice. 
Otherwise, your employment contract terms and conditions dictate what options are available. 

 

Childcare Assistance - information from MSD

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has been exploring ways to make things easier for their clients and childcare providers over the last couple of months.

Many providers have experienced a loss in revenue this year and many people are finding things particularly tough financially.

We’re pleased to advise Cabinet has approved changes so MSD can continue to pay Childcare Subsidy and OSCAR Subsidy where centres are closed, or children are absent due to the requirements of the COVID-19 alert system.
 
People getting a subsidy must remain eligible for Childcare Assistance for these payments to continue. 

MSD is working through this in more detail and they will soon have more information, including clarification on processes. 

 

Level 2

Early learning centres and schools can open and Level 2 requirements apply:

  • Children and staff who are at higher-risk of severe illness are encouraged to take additional precautions when leaving home.
  • Please be alert to illness and ask anyone who is presenting as unwell to go home, or ask parents and caregivers to come and pick the child up.
  • Messaging about good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette to be reinforced.
  • Usual license numbers apply.
  • Bubbles are not necessary.
  • In early learning there does not need to be a measurable physical distance between children/ tamariki or children/tamariki and staff.  However, adults should where practicable use 1 metre as a guide between themselves and other adults.
  • Contact tracing registers must be in place and used. Support your community by displaying the QR code posters for the NZ COVID Tracer App.
  • Indoor temperature must be increased to 18 degrees celsius.
  • All outdoor and indoor equipment can be used.
  • Food must be served in separate containers.

The Ministry has a useful document that outlines the requirements for each level here.

Masks at Level 2

Do children need to wear face coverings at early learning services at Alert Level 2?
No. Public Health officials have advised that children under the age of 6 should not wear face coverings. Other public health control measures will be in place including children and staff staying home if they are sick, contact tracing, and hygiene requirements.

Do teachers need to wear face coverings at early learning services and schools at Alert Level 2?
No. Teachers do not need to wear face coverings at Alert Level 2. Other public health measures will be in place including children and staff staying home if they are sick, contact tracing, and hygiene requirements.

Do children and young people need to wear face coverings on school transport, or transport provided by early learning services, at Alert Level 2?
No. Children and young people are not required to wear face coverings wrapped around the nose and mouth on school transport or early learning service transport. This includes buses or vans chartered or used by schools or early learning services to carry children, students and staff. Good hygiene measures, contact tracing and staying away if sick will remain in place.

Do all children and young people need to wear face coverings on public transport at Alert Level 2?
No. Public Health officials have advised that children under the age of 6 should not wear face coverings.

Children under 12 years of age are not required to wear face coverings on public transport at Alert Level 2. 

Children aged 12 and over are required to wear face coverings at Alert Level 2 (as are the majority of New Zealanders).

Who is exempted from wearing face coverings on public transport at Alert Level 2?
Children under 12 years of age are not required to wear face coverings on public transport at Alert Level 2. 

For people with a physical or mental health illness or condition or disability that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable, they will be exempted from having to wear a face covering on public transport.

Further information on face coverings is available on the covid19.govt.nz website.

QR Code posters

 Please see the Early Learning Bulletin item from 4 August about how to get your QR code posters here.

Everyone

All our good practices are needed more than ever:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and dry them.
  • Stay home if you are sick or feeling unwell.
  • Use the official tracer app to record your movements.
  • If you have symptoms, get tested. If you are asked to take a test, do so.
  • Physical distancing of 2 metres to be maintained where possible.

For more information and resources please visit our Covid-19 page here. This information can now be accessed without having to sign into the members portal.