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COVID-19: Updated information on help with child care costs

Published on April 6, 2020 6:02 am, by

Updated: 8 June 2020

Key Points

  • For the period 23 March 2020 until 5 April 2020 Child Care Centres are able to waive out of pocket fees where a Centre was open but a child didn’t attend due to COVID-19. If you prepaid fees for this period you Centre may refund the fees
  • Child care will be free for most people for the period 6 April 2020 until 12 July 2020.┬áThe Government will pay Child Care Centres to remain open to ensure child care remains available especially for the children of essential workers and disadvantaged families
  • The payment is made to the Child Care Centre and parents will not be means tested. As a parent you don’t need to do anything except make sure your child is enrolled (or re-enrolled)
  • During this period parents will not receive Child Care Subsidy or Additional Child Care Subsidy. These payments to parents will resume on 13 July 2020
  • After 13 July 2020 eligible parents will receive the Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy again
  • There will be transitional arrangements in place between 13 July and 4 October 2020 under which parents that aren’t able to satsify the activity test will be entitled to 100 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight per child. There will also be additional payments made to child care centres
  • Remaining enrolled or re-enrolling will help ensure your child has a place and you receive any usual subsidies when things return to normal

New Funding Arrangements for Childcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic

For the period 23 March 2020 until 6 April 2020

Under initial changes implemented by the Government Child Care Centres are able to waive out of pocket fees for children for the period between 23 March 2020 and 5 April 2020 where a Child Care Centre was open but the child didn’t attend because of COVID-19. It is a business decision for each Child Care Centre whether they charge families the gap fee for this period and whether thy refund any out of pocket fees already paid. If you pre-paid fees for this period you should contact your Child Care Centre.

For the period 6 April 2020 until 12 July 2020

The Government has changed how Child Care Centres are funded for the period 6 April 2020 until 12 July 2020. These changes are designed to ensure the Child Care Centres remain open and child care is available, especially for the children of essential workers and disadvantaged families.

Under the new arrangements the Government will pay a special subsidy to Child Care Centres in place of the normal Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy.

As a result of this new subsidy parent will not be charged for child care including any out of pocket or gap fees.

The new arrangements are not means tested and parents don’t need to do anything other than ensure their child is enrolled, remains enrolled and attends the centre.

Parents of children whose enrollment has ceased are encouraged to re-enroll their children. Even Child Care Centres don’t need to do anything to arrange the new subsidy. It will be paid automatically from 6 April 2020.

On July 13 2020 the new subsidy will stop and the existing Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy will resume.

Parents should continue to make sure they remain eligible for Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy

For the period 13 July to 4 October 2020

There will be new transitional arrangements in place between 13 July 2020 and 4 October 2020. During this period parents that can no longer satisfy the activity test will be entitled to 100 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight per child. Parents can notify Services Australia of their eligibility for these transitional arrangements via myGove and their Centrelink online account.

There will also be additional transitional payments made to child care operators during this period.

Other you might need to know

  • Up to the 6th April (when this funding starts) and backdated to the 23rd March, Childcare providers can waive gap fees for families, this is at the discretion of the Childcare provider though and not funded by the government
  • An extra 20 absence days are available without losing your place, so that is now a total of 62 absence days. This ceases on 30 June 2020 and reverts to 42 absence days for the 2020/21 financial year
  • If you have terminated your enrollment after 17 February you can contact your Childcare centre and restart your enrollment. You won’t need to pay a gap fee and this will hold your place for when you are ready to send your child again
  • Centres will also be eligible to receive Job Keeper payments to pay staff. Eligibility for Job Keeper payments for centre staff stops on 12 July 2020

 

If you are concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19 or you are facing the uncertainty of losing your job or having your income significantly reduced we can help. Sign up to MoneyBrilliant and we will give you access to a host of tools and features to help you organise your finances and make better decisions about your money. We’ll also give you tailored insights about the financial assistance available from governments and businesses to help you face the economic and financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This summary has been prepared by MoneyBrilliant Pty Ltd (ABN 34 153 932 766, AFSL 492711, ACL 493068). The information in this summary is of a factual nature only. We are not suggesting or recommending that you take any particular course of action in relation to any financial product or service. It does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. If you need financial advice or taxation advice you should seek advice from a licensed financial adviser or tax agent. You may also be able to access additional information from the websites of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the relevant product providers.

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Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

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