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

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).

On this page:

Current restrictions

To find out about support for restricted areas, visit COVID-19 restrictions and the early childhood education and care sector.

To ensure you are prepared for every contingency, visit our Help in an emergency webpage.

Recovery Package

28 September 2020 – 31 January 2021

The Recovery Package provides continued support for the sector, 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 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 page.

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 Payments.

The Transition Package helped the sector’s strong recovery. Aside from Victoria, at a national level attendance had returned to pre-COVID levels.

More details on the Transition Package are available in the Transition Payment Guidelines.

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. Affected families can access up to 100 hours of subsidised child care, per child, per fortnight.

This support is available for two-parent families, where one or both parents can no longer engage in the same hours of activity as they did before COVID-19, and where both parents are engaging in at least eight hours of recognised activity per fortnight.

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.

Families can search for child care services near them through Starting Blocks or Child Care Finder.

Fee waiving

All services in Australia can waive gap fees if they are forced to close on public health advice until 31 January 2021.

Family Day Care and In Home Care providers must apply to waive gap fees. To apply, email chilcareintegrity@dese.gov.au

Health advice

The current health advice is that services should continue to remain open unless otherwise directed, with risk mitigation measures in place.

The Australian Government Department of Health has an online infection control training module that covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19.

Services are also encouraged to download and display this COVID-19 poster as a reminder to families and staff to minimise the risk of COVID-19.

For more information on safe hygiene practices to help stop the spread of COVID-19, contact your state regulatory authority or visit the Department of Health website.

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

In August, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment surveyed services about the Transition Package and parents about child care during COVID-19.

Child care in COVID-19: Summary of August services survey results

Child care in COVID-19: Summary of August parent survey results

Resources

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

Victorian Recovery Payment Guidelines

Transition Payment Guidelines

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

Stay in touch

Update your contact details (particularly email addresses) 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.