Recovery Package for early childhood education and care sector

The Recovery Package supported the early childhood education and care sector as it recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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The Australian Government announced the $305.6 million Recovery Package on 20 September 2020. The package ran from 28 September 2020 to 31 January 2021 and provided continued support for the sector in Victoria and nationally. 

Victoria 

In recognition of the second wave lockdown in Victoria, we paid a Victorian Recovery Payment to all eligible Victorian services.  

Centre Based Day Care, Family Day Care, and In Home Care

Centre Based Day Care, Family Day Care and In Home Care services received a 25% Recovery Payment.

We based this payment on the average weekly fee charged by the service during the reference fortnight (up to the fee cap). For most services this was the fortnight starting 17 February 2020.

Outside School Hours Care

OSCH services continued to receive Transition Payments until mid-October. This included a 30% payment for OSHC in Melbourne and a 25% payment for the rest of Victoria.

Some OSHC services were also eligible for the following transition payments:&

  • Additional Viability Support Payment;
  • Special Transition Payment (for OSHC in Melbourne only), and
  • Low Charged Hours payment.

OSHC services then received a 40% Recovery Payment from late October until the end of the 2020 school year.

Vacation care only providers (and OSHC services providing vacation care) were also eligible for this payment for any weeks they provided care from the end of the 2020 school year to 31 January 2021.

Conditions for payments

To receive the Recovery Payment, all eligible Victorian services had to agree to the conditions in their grant agreement.

More information is available in the Victorian Recovery Payment Guidelines.

Grant offers

We sent grant offers for Recovery Payments to most Victorian services in October 2020. Providers had to review and electronically accept their grant offer for payments to start.

Timing of payments

Providers who accepted their offer by 19 October received payment in the week starting 26 October 2020. Otherwise, fortnightly payments commenced in the next available fortnightly pay run.

The first payment included a back-payment amount from:

  • 28 September for each eligible CBDC, FDC and IHC service
  • 12 October for OSHC services (excluding vacation care only) outside metropolitan Melbourne, and
  • 19 October for OSHC services (excluding vacation care only) in metropolitan Melbourne.

Christmas and New Year period

We paid CBDC, IHC and FDC services fortnightly in advance until 31 December 2020.

We paid OSHC services fortnightly in advance until 21 December 2020. We then paid OSHC and vacation care only services in arrears for each week they provided care between 21 December 2020 and 31 January 2021, based on session reports.

OHSC services that provided care in the week (Monday to Sunday) that contained Christmas Day and/or the week that contained New Year’s Day received a Recovery Payment for each of those weeks.

We paid Recovery Payments in arrears for each week in January 2021 to all services based on their session reports.

Absences

We gave all children attending child care in Victoria an extra 30 days of allowable absences. These are in addition to the existing 42 days for the 2020–21 financial year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all families receive an extra 10 allowable absences for the 2021–22 financial year.

Families were able to use absences where children were not permitted to attend, or where families preferred to keep children at home.

Enrolments

On Monday 12 October 2020, we recorded a $0 session of care on all active enrolments for Victorian children who had not attended care for at least 10 weeks. This prevented these enrolments from automatically ceasing due to ongoing absences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this solution worked for most enrolments, some were not captured.

We may need to apply an additional $0 session of care to remedy unintended debt outcomes in some cases.

CCCF Special Circumstances

Further support was available for services in Victoria at high risk of permanent closure through the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF) Special Circumstances Grant Opportunity.

This support was available until 31 January 2021.

Australia

Transition Payments ended for services outside Victoria on 27 September 2020.

We extended the relaxed activity test for families whose activity level has been impacted by COVID-19 to 4 April 2021.

CCCF Special Circumstances

Further support was available to services outside Victoria at risk of imminent closure through the CCCF Special Circumstances Grant Opportunity 

This support was available until 31 January 2021.