Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan announced today that the government’s free child care will come to an end on July 12th 2020, along with the JobKeeper payments for child care workers on July 20th.
The free child care scheme was introduced in April to keep the sector afloat amidst concerns that families keeping their children at home could force centres to close.
It had been set to continue until the end of June, with an option to extend it. Mr Tehan explained in a statement that the scheme ‘had done its job, and would be turned off on 12 July.’
Why is it ending?
‘What we have seen is demand grow and grow over the last few weeks so that we needed to change the system,’ Mr Tehan explained.
‘This system was designed for when demand was falling. Now we are seeing demand increasing.’
What does this mean for parents?
From July 13th, parents will go back to paying their child care fees, as the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is re-introduced.
Mr Tehan explained that the government will ease the activity test which determines access to subsidised care, until October 4th.
This means that families that have had their income impacted by COVID-19 ‘will receive up to 100 hours per fortnights of subsidised care during this period,’ Mr Tehan explained.
In his statement, Mr Tehan explained that the government was preparing to pay ‘approximately $2 billion in CCS this quarter to eligible families.’
He also explained that as the CCS is means-tested, those that earn the least would receive the ‘highest level of subsidy.’
The subsidy ranges from 20% to 85% depending on income, with parents required to pay the gap between the child care fees and the subsidy.
What does this mean for child care centres?
JobKeeper payments will cease from July 20th, Mr Tehan explained. ‘Instead, the government will pay childcare services a transition payment of 25% of their fee revenue during the relief package reference period, the fortnight ending March 2.’
As part of the support package for the child care workers, centres must ensure that their fees are capped at the same level they were in February.
For those centres that were not eligible for JobKeeper, the new scheme will see them receiving the government payments.
What does this mean for child care workers?
A shift away from the JobKeeper payments for child care workers will be supported through the $708 million package which will require educators to have their employment levels guaranteed by their centres.
At the end of his media release, Mr Tehan concluded that ‘Stopping fee increases during the transition and relaxing the activity test will relieve financial pressure on families that may be doing it tough.’
Parents looking to find child care in their area can visit Toddle to find centres that have availability right now.
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