COVID-19 information for the early childhood education and care sector

As at 29 September 2020

The Australian Government has implemented measures throughout 2020 to help the early childhood education and care sector manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These measures included a Relief Package (6 April to 12 July), a Transition Payment (13 July to 27 September 2020), and a Recovery Package (28 September to 31 January 2021).

Recovery Package

28 September 2020 – 31 January 2021

The Recovery Package will provide continued support for the sector in Victoria and nationally, and includes:

  • 25% Recovery Payment for Victoria
  • additional 15% payment for Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services in Victoria
  • provisions to extend financial support if similar outbreaks occur elsewhere in the country and restrictions come into force
  • Support for services at risk of imminent closure where they meet relevant criteria.

For more information, visit the Recovery Package webpage.

Transition Package

13 July 2020 – 27 September 2020

The sector returned to CCS with support from a Transition Package on 13 July 2020.

In addition to CCS payments, approved providers received a 25% Transition Payment instead of JobKeeper.

The Transition Package helped the sector recover strongly. Aside from Victoria, at a national level attendance has returned to pre-COVID levels.

Relief Package

6 April 2020 – 12 July 2020

The Australian Government responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020 with the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. The Relief Package ended on 12 July 2020.

A review found the Relief Package helped keep services open and viable, with 99% of 13,400 services operational as of 27 May 2020.

Information for families

Nationally, the activity test has been eased until 4 April 2021 for Australian families whose employment has been affected by COVID-19.

Families can apply for the extra hours by using their Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. Families experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for Additional Child Care Subsidy

Fee waiving

Services can waive gap fees if they are forced to close as a result of a public health directive, due to COVID-19, until 31 December 2020.

Services can also waive gap fees where a child is not attending for COVID-19 related reasons, if you are located in a Stage 3 or higher restricted area, until 31 December 2020.

This now does not apply to services located in regional Victoria from 11:59pm 16 September due to relaxation of restrictions.

Service closures

If your service is directed to close by a Commonwealth, state or territory government authority, you must report the closure and any reopening.

You must state the reason for the closure within 24 hours to:

State/territory 

Contact 

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory 

NSWACT@dese.gov.au 

Victoria 

CCSAssessments-VIC@dese.gov.au 

Queensland 

CCSAssessments-QLD@dese.gov.au 

Western Australia 

CCSAssessments-WA@dese.gov.au 

South Australia 

ChildcareSA@dese.gov.au 

Tasmania 

ChildcareTasmania@dese.gov.au 

Northern Territory 

ChildcareNT@dese.gov.au 

Information sessions

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has recorded a series of COVID-19 information sessions for providers and services.

Reports

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment conducted a review of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package in May to assess whether the Package was meeting its objectives.

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package: Four Week Review Summary Report

The Australian Government undertook extensive consultation to help the sector navigate COVID-19.

Early Childhood Education and Care and COVID-19: Path to Recovery Report

Resources

Frequently asked questions

Victorian Recovery Payment Guidelines

Information for families – Keeping your child in care during COVID-19

Transition Overview – Guide for Providers and Services

JobKeeper Payment Eligibility: Information for mixed businesses

Transition Payment Guidelines

Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship) and COVID-19

Poster

A3 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Poster–Help stop the spread–resource for early childhood education and care providers and services

Stay in touch

Keep your contact details (particularly email addresses) up to date in the Child Care Subsidy System so you don’t miss important information. Do this via the Provider Entry Point or through your third-party software.

You can also subscribe to communications from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

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