Childcare Options as Parents Return to Work
On June 1, 2020, Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) released the Massachusetts Child and Youth Serving Programs Reopen Approach: Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety for child care programs, recreational camps, and municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps that are seeking to operate during the phased plan of Reopening Massachusetts.
This reopening will coincide with Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s phased reopening. Additional information on specific steps programs may need to take before reopening will be issued by EEC in forthcoming guidance. The primary goal remains to safely reengage the child care system in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of children, families, and staff.
Massachusetts is currently in Phase I of re-opening with the earliest possible move to Phase II occurring Monday June 8th. Childcare providers may be allowed to re-open during Phase II once they have an operating plan approved by the Department of Early Education and Care, but how do you handle childcare in the meantime?
With schools and daycares closed, many parents are struggling with this question as they return to work, but you have options.
- Childcare capacity may be available through the existing emergency childcare programs. Availability is prioritized for essential workers but you can check the state’s database to locate care providers. https://eeclead.force.com/apex/EEC_ExemptEmergencyChildCare
- FFCRA Paid Family and Medical Leave: if your employer is a private entity with fewer than 500 employees, you have the ability to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for children whose school or care provider is closed. Employers may exempt healthcare providers and first responders, and employers with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for an exemption. The leave is paid at 2/3 of your usual rate capped at $200 per day and is also available for intermittent use.
For the latest information and guidance on Reopening Massachusetts, visit www.mass.gov.