Early Childhood Education and Care Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

As at 9 July 2020

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package and Transition Arrangements

The Australian Government has confirmed the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package will be extended until 12 July 2020. From 13 July 2020, Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) will recommence with the introduction of a number of new measures to support providers and families through this period. For more information see the Minister’s media release and our Frequently Asked Questions.

The announcement of the transition arrangements provides four weeks’ notice to allow families time to adjust to paying fees and time for services to prepare for the return to CCS.

More information on the transition arrangements for the end of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package is available at:

Resumption of Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy

CCS and ACCS will recommence from 13 July 2020. This is in line with the beginning of the 2020/21 CCS financial year and CCS rates, indexed by the Consumer Price Index taking effect. Providers will be able to submit sessions of attendance reports through their third party software product or the Provider Entry Point.

Services should ensure that parents have updated their income and activity details and their children’s enrolment details are current.

Response to COVID-19 in Victoria

From 13 July until 31 December 2020, services open and located in an area of Stage 3 or higher – ‘stay at home’ restrictions in Victoria are permitted to waive families’ out of pocket fees where a child is not attending due to COVID-19, and an absence is recorded. Areas subject to Stage 3 or higher – ‘stay at home’ restrictions are listed at vic.gov.au

Activity Test

The activity test requirements will be eased from 13 July 2020 to help families impacted by COVID-19.

From 13 July 2020 until 4 October 2020, individuals who can no longer engage in the same number of hours of work, training, study or other activity recognised by the CCS activity test immediately prior to the COVID-19 crisis, can advise Centrelink they meet the requirements to access 100 hours of subsidised child care, per child, per fortnight for up to 12 weeks.

This will assist families to return to the level of work, study or training they were doing before the COVID-19 crisis, or to do more than before.

From 13 July 2020, families will need to update their activity levels to access the 100 hours. This can be done through their Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

Fee waiving when services are forced to close

The Minister’s Rule that permits services to waive families’ out of pocket fees in the event their service is forced to close on public health advice, as a result of COVID-19, will be extended from 30 June 2020 until 31 December 2020.

Transition Payment

From 13 July 2020 all approved early childhood education and care services will receive a Transition Payment to help them transition to back to the CCS. To ensure Government support is appropriately targeted, JobKeeper will cease from 20 July 2020 for employees of a CCS approved service and for sole traders operating a child care service. For more detailed information on JobKeeper eligibility please see: Information for Child Care Subsidy approved providers.

The Transition Payment will be made instead of the JobKeeper Payment, for the period 13 July 2020 to 27 September 2020. The Transition Payment is 25 per cent of fee revenue or the existing hourly rate cap, whichever is lower, during the relevant reference period that has been used during the Relief Package. The Transition Payment will be paid as a grant under the Community Child Care Fund.  The first weekly Transition Payment will not be received by providers until 17 July 2020 at the earliest.

To help providers and services manage the transition period and to assist with cash flow, the last two Transition Payments scheduled for September 2020 have been brought forward and will be paid as a one-off advance payment in the week commencing 6 July 2020.

For more information please see: Transition Payment Guidelines and the Grant Agreement template with terms and conditions

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

From Monday 6 April 2020, the department has made weekly payments directly to early childhood education and care services in lieu of the CCS and ACCS to help them keep their doors open and employees in their jobs. During this time, families have not been charged fees.

The Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package will cease on 12 July 2020.

More information is available at:

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package–Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment

Until 20 June 2020, providers and services could apply to receive a supplement or ‘top up’ of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payment in exceptional circumstances.

Applications for an Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment closed at 11.59pm 20 June 2020.

Four Week Review of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package and the Government's response

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

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package Four Week Review

In response to the review, the Australian Government established the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment to provide financial support to child care services that had 30 per cent or more of employees who are not eligible for the JobKeeper Payment and more financial security for In Home Care providers. Applications for the Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment closed on 20 June 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can also find more information in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Information sessions

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is holding regular COVID-19 information sessions for early childhood education and care providers and services.

The most recent session was 17 June 2020.

The session covers:

  • the extension of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package and return to Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy
  • Transition Payments
  • what providers/services and families need to do to prepare

Please note the session was not streamed live.

View the presentation slides.

Resources

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has developed a COVID-19 related poster which may be downloaded and displayed by early childhood education and care providers and services. The poster provides information and tips for families and staff to help minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

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

Stay in touch

Make sure your contact details (particularly email addresses) are up to date in the Child Care Subsidy System so you don’t miss out on important information. You can do this via the Provider Entry Point or through your third party software.

Please also make sure that you have subscribed to receive communications from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Last modified on [108|2110]