The Australian Government’s Early Childhood Education And Childcare Services Relief Package – What It Means For You
For many families, childcare is an essential service that allows them balance work and parenting, although with the current COVID-19 crisis many of these services are facing difficult challenges. Thankfully, on 2 April 2020 the Prime Minister announced a new support package aimed at ensuring early childhood education and child care services can remain open during this time. The Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package is set to provide free childcare to around one million families, and aims to financially support businesses in this sector to keep their doors open.
What is included in the package
As of April 6, the relief package will provide additional funds to the childcare sector, including:
- 50 per cent of the sector’s fee revenue will be paid by the government, up to the existing hourly rate cap.
- This will be based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March, whether or not they are attending services.
- Is provided on the condition that these services remain open and do not charge families for care.
- The new system will see payments start flowing at the end of next week. These payments will be paid in lieu of the Child Care (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments.
- In exceptional circumstances payments of higher amounts will be available, such as where greater funding is required to meet the needs of emergency workers or vulnerable children.
- The government will allow services to waive gap fees for families who keep their children home, until the payments arrive. Families will be able to use the 20 extra absence days the government has funded for coronavirus related reasons without giving up their place in a child care centre.
- The new system will be reviewed after one month, with an extension to be considered after three months.
What if I terminated my child’s enrolment?
Families who have terminated enrolment since 17 February are strongly encouraged to get back into contact with their centres and re-start arrangements. Doing so will not require you to send your child to child care and will not require you to pay a gap fee. It does, however, “hold your place for that point in time when things start to normalise, and you are ready to take your child back to their centre.”
For any families who rely on childcare services, the new relief package will be a welcome relief. Additional funds will be provided to businesses within this sector on the condition that they remain open and do not charge families. For more information on the new package, read the media release here. If you need advice for your business during these difficult times, or want to know how the government’s new stimulus packages can assist you, Link Advisors are here to help.