Activity test

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The hours of subsidised care a family receives per fortnight depends on its hours of recognised activities. The higher the level of activity, the more hours of subsidised care families can get.

Activity level

The Australian Government uses a family’s activity level to work out the number of hours of subsidised child care it can get each fortnight. 

We look at both parents’ activity and use the parent with the lower hours to determine the level.

There are four activity levels:

Step Hours of activity per fortnight Maximum hours of CCS per child, per fortnight
1 Less than 8 hours

0 hours if you earn above $69,390

24 hours if you earn $69,390 or below

2 8 hours to 16 hours 36 hours
3 More than 16 hours to 48 hours 72 hours
4 More than 48 hours 100 hours

Parents can include travel time between their child care service and place of work, training, study, or other recognised activity.

Activity hours do not need to coincide with child care hours. For example, an individual working on the weekend can get CCS for care during the week.

Recognised activities

Families need to do a recognised activity to get CCS. 

The broad range of activities include:

  • paid work, including being self-employed 
  • paid or unpaid leave, including parental or maternity leave
  • unpaid work in a family business
  • training to improve work skills or employment prospects
  • an approved course of education or study
  • volunteering
  • unpaid work experience or internship
  • actively setting up a business
  • actively looking for work.

Recognised activities can be combined to determine the maximum hours of CCS a family can get. 

Exemptions

Exemptions apply for parents who cannot meet activity test requirements.

An individual may be eligible for 100 hours of subsidised care per child per fortnight if they:

  • are temporarily outside Australia, for a maximum of 6 weeks
  • have a disability or medical condition that stops them from working
  • get a carer payment
  • provide constant care for a child or an adult with a disability or medical condition, or 
  • are in prison or psychiatric confinement.

There are other exemptions: 

  • Grandparents who are the principal carer of a grandchild or great grandchild may be eligible for 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight.
  • Parents with a preschool aged child who attends a preschool program at a Centre Based Day Care may be entitled to 36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight. This exemption only applies to the preschool aged child in the family.
  • Parents facing exceptional circumstances that impact their ability to do recognised activities or care for their child may be exempt. These are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Families need to call the families line to discuss their circumstances.

Learn more about activity test exemptions

Other factors

Two other factors determine a family's level of CCS: