Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

OEC’s new initiative offers one-time payments to individual staff at licensed and some license-exempt child care programs. Get an overview of the program.

If you’re looking for more detail, check out the frequently asked questions below.

About the program

How many rounds of payments will be included in Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators?

There will be two rounds of payments for the initiative.

  • First round of funding: Flat rate payment used to supplement salaries of each eligible staff member based on full-time or part-time status. These FAQs are primarily focused on this first round of payments. 
  • Second round of funding: Will include equity and quality components in calculations of award amounts. More information about the second round of payments will be available in Fall 2022, with the goal to distribute to providers in late 2022 or early 2023.

Eligibility

What programs are eligible for the first round of payments for Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators? 

Every individual staff member that works in the following programs and meets the below criteria:

  • Licensed child care centers
  • Licensed group child care homes
  • Licensed family child care homes
  • All license-exempt programs that receive School Readiness and/or CDC funding

What types of staff are eligible for the first round of payments for Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators? 

Staff at licensed child care centers and group child care homes

  • Any regularly scheduled staff member who provides direct service to children
    • Includes cleaning/cooking staff and admin/receptionists on the program payroll
    • Does not include volunteers, substitutes who are not on payroll or employed by the program, etc.
  • Supervisors of those who provide direct service to children (some of these titles may include but are not limited to Site Administrator, Lead Teacher, Education Manager, Program Director, Family Service Coordinator), provided that:
    • They work with teachers or parents regularly and
    • Their individual gross salary does not exceed  $100,000 per year
  • Staff members must be employed at the time of application

No other eligibility requirements exist in terms of mandating that staff must be employed for a certain minimum amount of time.

These payments do not support contractors (i.e., hired out bus driver, janitorial crew which is part of external cleaning company, health consultant, education consultant, etc.). 

Staff at license-exempt programs that receive School Readiness or CDC Funding

  • Any regularly scheduled staff member in a classroom which receives School Readiness or CDC funding who provides direct service to children
    • Includes cleaning/cooking staff and admin/receptionists on the program payroll
    • Does not include volunteers, substitutes who are not on payroll or employed by the program, etc.
  • Supervisors who are directly assigned to classroom that receives School Readiness or CDC funding who provide direct service to children (some of these titles may include but not be limited to Site Administrator, Lead Teacher, Education Manager, Program Director, Family Service Coordinator), provided that:
    • They work with teachers or parents regularly and
    • Their individual gross salary does not exceed  $100,000 per year
  • Staff members must be employed at the time of application

No other eligibility requirements exist in terms of mandating that staff must be employed for a certain minimum amount of time.

These payments do not support contractors (i.e. hired out bus driver, janitorial crew which is part of external cleaning company, health consultant, education consultant, etc.). 

Staff at licensed family child care homes

  • Family Child Care Owner/Licensee – please make sure that you are including yourself in the count! We value your work with our children and want to make sure you are recognized for your hard work.
  • Any regularly scheduled staff member (including the Family Child Care Owner) who provides direct service to children (this includes OEC approved substitutes and assistants only, shall not include volunteers, substitutes who are not paid by the Licensee, etc.); 
  • The OEC approved substitutes and/or assistants must be employed at the time of application. No other eligibility requirements exist in terms of any requirement mandating the staff must be employed for a certain minimum amount of time.

These payments do not support contractors (i.e. hired out bus driver, janitorial crew which is part of external cleaning company, health consultant, education consultant, etc.). 

Should staff (e.g., custodian, cafeteria staff, etc.) supporting multiple classrooms in a public school, where at least one of which is a early childhood classroom that receives state funding, be included in these awards?

Awards are intended to support individuals spending 50% or more of their time supporting OEC-regulated classrooms/programs 

Are staff required to accept these awards? 

No — staff may choose not to accept the award. All employed staff should be advised of this payment and be provided an opportunity to consent or decline the funds.

Can a program apply for Wage Supports if they have an open case in any legal and/or enforcement actions?

Yes.

Can a program that has had its license revoked apply for funding?

No.

Can I apply if I have a pending application for a CT child care license?

No. You must either have been fully licensed by the application submission date or receive School Readiness and/or CDC funding to be eligible for Wage Supports.

How to apply

How does a program apply for the first round of Wage Supports? 

The application was launched the October 6, 2022, so please look for an email from childcarefunding@ctunitedway.org. You will then complete a brief application and attestation for each license number.

Will the application be available in Spanish? 

We don’t have a separate application in Spanish. However, we have screenshots of the application translated into Spanish to help people who apply. 2-1-1 Child Care also has Spanish speaking staff available to help — call 1-800-505-1000 for support.

We are a multi-site organization. Do we apply as one organization or for each site?

Each individual site will receive an email invitation to apply. Please do not share the email invitation. Each site should complete its own application. Each individual staff member should only be included in the count at one site, not double counted. 

What do I do if my program did not get an application through email?

Please first check your spam email — search for childcarefunding@ctunitedway.org. If you believe your program is eligible and did not receive an application for the second round of funding, please call 2-1-1 Child Care at 1-800-505-1000 or email childcarefunding@ctunitedway.org. Be sure to have your license number or licensed-exempt number handy to expedite assistance.

Can I add staff later who are not employed at the date of the application?

No – payments are only available for those employed at the time you submit the application.

What terms will I need to agree to receive for the Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators?

Read the Terms and Conditions.

When is the Wage Supports Application Due?

If you already have a Supplier ID, the application is due November 30th. If you are still in process of gaining a Supplier ID, you must request your Supplier ID by November 30. You will have two weeks to complete your application once supplier ID is complete and United Way has sent your Wage Supports application.

Funding calculation

How much will I receive for the first round of Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators payments? 

Payment 1 will be a flat rate payment based on full-time or part-time  status. Everyone will receive the same amount, regardless of years of service, SVI, or quality rating.

  • Full-Time (defined as a minimum of 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month) will receive a payment of $1,000
  • Part-Time (defined as less than 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month) will receive a payment of $400

What additional funding will I receive for administrative payments and what can it be used for?

Programs will receive an additional 10% on top of staff payments to cover the cost of Social Security, employer share of state and federal taxes, and any other administrative processing fees incurred by the program.  

Payment

How will my program receive Wage Supports payments?

The funds will arrive as soon as possible after we receive your application. It usually takes about 4 weeks.

A program may apply to receive the Wage Supports for Early Childhood Educators by direct deposit to the program’s business account through the Office of the State Comptroller. If you choose not to receive by direct deposit, a paper check will be mailed to the address provided on the application. It is important for the program to keep records for tax filing and other purposes. Learn more about setting up direct deposit with the Office of the State Comptroller.

How can funding from the first round of Wage Supports be used?

Programs should use the grant as a one-time increase to wages, in addition to each staff member’s already established salary. Grants will be awarded based upon the number of full-time and part-time staff employed at the program. The child care program must disperse the funds in a one lump sum payment to staff within 45 days of the receipt of funds.

Do staff have to pay taxes on this money?

Yes, it’s taxable income. You’ll receive the appropriate form for filing your taxes.

What documentation should be kept for auditing and/or tax purposes and for how long?

Supporting documentation must be retained for a period of 3 years and promptly submitted to OEC upon request. Supporting documentation may include: 

  • Program records and supporting documentation related to this application
  • Payroll and benefits records 
  • Written attestations from staff affirming receipt of the funds

We are a multi-site program — will we receive payment in one payment or by site?

If the payment is issued by check, one check may be cut for all sites. However, it will be broken down by license number in the memo section of the check. If paid by direct deposit, one deposit may be made into the account and a spreadsheet will be emailed to the address on file separating out the amount of payment per license number.

Are Wage Supports taxable? 

Yes, if you are a for-profit organization this funding is taxable. If you are a non-profit or not-for-profit organization, this funding is tax exempt. All organizations receiving funding must report this as income to your program. As with all funding, child care providers are responsible for tracking how funds were issued. 

Is this a loan that needs to be paid back?

This is not a loan. However, you must report this as income to your program and pay taxes on it.

I am being audited, what is the SID/CFDA Number for these Funds?

The SID for these funds that you will need for your auditor is 11000-16274-OEC64806-12639

Using your funds

What are the allowable uses of Wage Support payments? 

The child care program must disperse the funds in a one lump sum payment to staff as a one-time increase to wages. The program may decide whether to send the payment as a standalone check or as part of a separate payroll process. 

How quickly does a program need to spend Wage Support payments?

A program should deposit the check(s) as soon as they are received. The child care program must disperse the funds in a one lump sum payment to staff within 45 days of the receipt of funds.

What if my program closes after I have received the Wage Support payments?

If your program closes, you must return any unspent funds. In order to accept the funds, the program should be serving children or have all the necessary confirmations to reopen and serve children within 30 days of submission of your application. This plan supports the business in staying open. When a program closes, they must notify the OEC’s Division of Child Care Licensing to close the license.

What if a staff member leaves the program between application submission and receipt of funds?

The child care program must make reasonable efforts to pay the staff that were claimed on the application by sending a check to the last known address of the staff. If efforts are unsuccessful, the program shall use the funds in a way which supports salaries of other eligible staff, and retain documentation of how funds were used, which could be requested by the OEC. If you are seeking additional guidance for a specific situation, please contact United Way at childcarefunding@ctunitedway.org or call 2-1-1 Child Care or 1-800-505-1000.

If an employee is terminated between application and payment, are they still eligible for these funds?

If an employee is terminated for cause, they are no longer eligible for funds. Programs shall use the funds in a way which supports salaries of other eligible staff, and retain documentation of how funds were used, which could be requested by the OEC.

Last updated November 15, 2022