Absences from child care

Families can get Child Care Subsidy (CCS) when their child is unable to attend child care up to 42 days a year. Families can get extra absence days in certain circumstances.

On this page:

How absences work

Families can get CCS when their child is absent from a session of care they would normally attend for up to 42 days per child, per financial year.

Families can use their 42 absence days for any reason. Families do not need to provide evidence to use their absences.

In shared care arrangements, the 42 absences are allocated to the child, not to each individual parent.

If a child is enrolled in more than one session of care on the same day (such as before and after school care) and is absent for one of those sessions, it is counted as one absence day.

COVID-19 absences

Children that attend a service in a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 Hotspot can get more allowable absences if the declaration extends for more than seven days. 

Families can use these absences for the duration of the Commonwealth Hotspot, even if they have not used up their 42 days of allowable absences.

Learn more about COVID-19 absences on our COVID-19 information for the early childhood sector page.

When to claim absences

You can claim an absence in your session reports if:

  • the child was enrolled in a session of care but did not attend, and
  • the family has been charged a gap fee for that session of care.

You cannot report absences when your service is closed, except on public holidays or in a local emergency.

You must keep a record of absences.

Families can see their year-to-date absence count in their Centrelink online account via myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

Absences before and after attendance

Generally, absences should occur between a child’s first and last physical attendance at your service.

There are some circumstances where families can get CCS if an absence occurs:

  • within seven days of a child’s first attendance at your service (inclusive of their first day), or
  • after their last physical attendance at your service (inclusive of their last day).

These circumstances are:

  • any of the additional absence reasons listed below
  • the service has changed ownership
  • the child’s usual service is closed and the child attends a different service under the same provider
  • a family tragedy has occurred, or
  • the enrolment ceased incorrectly.

Additional absences

Families may be able to get additional absences once they have used their 42 days in certain circumstances.

These circumstances are:

  • the child, their carer, their carer’s partner or another person they live with is ill (a medical certificate must be provided)
  • the child is attending preschool
  • alternative arrangements have been made for the child on a pupil-free day
  • the child has not been immunised against an infectious disease and the absence occurs during an immunisation grace period (a medical certificate stating that exposure to the infectious disease would pose a health risk to the child must be provided)
  • the child is spending time with a person other than their usual carer as required by a court order or parenting plan (a copy of the relevant court order or parenting plan must be provided)
  • the service is closed as a direct result of a local emergency
  • the child cannot attend because of a local emergency (for up to 28 days after the emergency), or
  • the child’s carer chooses not to send the child due to a local emergency (for up to seven days after the emergency).

Families must provide evidence where specified above. Where not specified, providers must be reasonably satisfied that the additional absence reason has been met.