A Brief Overview
Effective April 6th, the Australian government has made the decision to make childcare free for all parents for at least three months. This decision was made to keep childcare centres open and allow essential workers to maintain their jobs during the coronavirus crisis.
The federal government says it will make Australian childcare services free during the coronavirus crisis, with priority given to parents who need to continue working. It is promoting its plan as a way to help childcare centres remain open and viable through the crisis. The government says parents who choose to keep their children at home during the pandemic can remain enrolled without paying fees and keep their place for when the crisis is over.
What Has Changed?
As of the 6th of April, the government has started making payments to childcare centres at the rate of about 50% of the usual fees. It will be based on the attendance figures that each centre had in the fortnight before 2 March – before numbers plummeted. These payments will be instead of existing payments, such as the childcare subsidy.
How Does It Work?
In return for receiving the new government payments, childcare services will be required to ensure families are not charged a fee, including an out-of-pocket or gap fee.
Combined annual family income is one of the three factors that determines the amount of Child Care Subsidy a family is entitled to.
Under the Child Care Subsidy, the percentage of subsidy a family is entitled to is based on their combined annual income, with more financial support available to lower income families.
This new system will be reviewed after a month and the government will consider an extension after three months.