Children's eligibility to access early learning and childcare services during January is restricted to those whose parents work in essential services or who are considered vulnerable. As per the gov.ie list, education is considered an essential service. For the purposes of accessing early learning and childcare services, parents who work in an essential services may be working from home. In addition, just one parent who is working in an essential services confers eligibility. Therefore, teachers who are teaching online during this period are eligible to access early learning and childcare services.
Depending on their family circumstances parents, including teachers, may be eligible for financial supports to access these early learning and childcare services through the National Childcare Scheme.
The National Childcare Scheme incorporates two kinds of subsidy towards the cost of quality of early learning and childcare.
The universal subsidy is available to all parents of children aged between 24 weeks and 36 months (or until the child qualifies for the Early Childhood Care and Education programme if later). The universal subsidy is set at a rate of €0.50 per hour and is available for up to 45 hours per week.
Income-related subsidies are available to families with net family incomes of up to €60,000, with higher subsidies for families with lower incomes. During this period of school closures, NCS subsidies have been extended to non-term-time arrangements, allowing for subsidies to apply for up to 45 hours per week.