Funding from the program will support up to 150,000 childcare workers with bonus payments ranging from $2,300 to $3,000 (depending on modality) to staff in caregiving roles, as well as funding to support childcare programs’ efforts to recruit new staff, offer sign-on and referral bonuses, and more.
The application portal opened on July 26, 2023 and will close on September 15, 2023.
The Workforce Retention Grant program is for eligible New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) providers that fall into the following categories:
- licensed/registered school-age child care programs (SACC),
- day care centers (DCC), family day care homes (FDC),
- group family day care homes (GFDC),
- small day care centers (SDCC) and
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) permitted Article 47 group day care centers (GDC).
Providers must apply during the application period and be able to confirm all the following eligibility criteria:
- They have an active license, registration, permit, or enrollment to provide child care.
- They are currently open and “in good standing.”
- Programs must also have at least one child in their care who is not related to the provider or their employees on the date of application and on dates of future disbursements to maintain eligibility.
Staff Eligibility Requirements
In order to receive a staff retention bonus, staff must meet all the requirements at the time the program submits an application and at the time the grant is paid. Staff must also:
- Work an average of 15 hours per week (10 hours for SACC staff)
- Work in a child caring role
- Have been fingerprinted and provisionally background checked by June 26, 2023
- Appear in their program’s active staff roster in FAMs or CCATS by June 26, 2023
The Workforce Retention Grant is one grant, comprised of two components. Only eligible child care programs can apply for the grant. Individual staff cannot apply.
Applicants who are awarded grants will receive both components and must comply with all grant terms and eligible expense types for each component. The two components of the grant are:
Employee information will be pre-loaded by OCFS and NYCDOHMH into each program’s on-line application. Employee information will be pulled from the OCFS CCFS system and the NYCDOHMH CCATS system and must be reviewed by providers to ensure the accuracy of employee eligibility. In conjunction with this, providers will need to determine that staff met the minimum average weekly hours worked between January 1, 2023 (or the date the employee started) and June 26, 2023. OCFS has provided a calculator that can be used for this calculation if you can’t pull the information directly from your payroll provider.
If there are errors or discrepancies in the employee information, OCFS will provide an outline of the process to correct the issue by August 14, 2023, posted on the OCFS website.
The following staff titles, who function in a child caring role, are eligible for a bonus:
OCFS CCFS System:
- Employee in child care role including teachers and assistant teachers
- Director/Acting Director
- Medication Administrant
- Site Supervisor and Assistant
- On-Site Provider
- Program Assistant
NYCDOH CCATS System:
- Ancillary Teacher
- Assistant Teacher
- Education Director
- Group Teacher
- Special Needs teacher
- Substitute Teacher
- Teacher Director
A staff member meets the definition of serving in a child caring role if they provide, for 15 hours or more per week (10 hours for SACC), direct supervision of one or more children at the time of the application.
Staff Retention Bonuses:
Eligible programs must request grant funds on behalf of each currently employed eligible staff. Each eligible staff must be included on the application. The entirety (100%) of the staff retention bonus amount must be passed on to each staff person, if they remain eligible at the time of payment to the program.
Staff Recruitment Expenses and Payroll Tax Assistance:
Allowable uses for staff recruitment grant funds include, but are not limited to:
- Providing recruitment sign-on bonuses for new staff who began after June 26, 2023 and are not eligible for the workforce retention grant payments.
- Providing bonuses for staff who are otherwise not eligible for the retention bonus.
- Providing referral incentives for existing staff who recruit new staff.
- Paying for advertisement and marketing costs for staff vacancies. Paying for recently hired (since June 26, 2023) staff benefit package costs (such as healthcare, paid time off, 401K, etc.).
- Paying for or reimburse costs for recently hired (since June 26, 2023) staff medical, criminal, and child abuse clearances.
- Paying for staffing or “headhunter” services.
- Paying a bonus for staff in a non-caregiving role who are recruited to a caregiving role.
- Paying a bonus for part-time staff who transition to a full-time role.
- Supplementing a retention payment to include a longevity bonus for existing staff who have been with the program six months or more.
An education lawyer colleague has reached out to NYSED RSU to determine how best to treat these grants if received. Per discussion with Nell Brady childcare that occurs before and after an education program is reported separately under program code 9164. For extended day, SED does not anticipate any impact on tuition programs as the bonus would be charged to the 9164 program. However, if the grant revenue relates to one or more education programs, then it would need to be reported as offsetting revenue, same as with any other grant revenue. As the bonus would reflect an increased expense, there should be no impact to the provider.
Iwona Sornat, CPA
Iwona is a Manager in Cerini & Associates’ audit and consulting practice, and she has more than 10 years of experience in providing various audit, review, accounting services to nonprofit, for-profit and government clients. Iwona has a strong background of financial statement and audit experience, including all aspects of grant compliance and single audit testing (Uniform Guidance). Iwona’s technical knowledge and experience allows her to provide effective and efficient audit service to her clients.