Greater flexibility in child care absences for families in lockdown

Families in Commonwealth declared hotspots will get access to additional absence days from child care during COVID-19 lockdowns, to help keep children enrolled and protect child care providers.

Allowable absences mean a family can chose not to send their child to care, but still receive the Government Child Care Subsidy.

Federal Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the change effectively means that during a lockdown of seven days or more, families won’t need to use their 42 allowable absence days.

“This means that once a lockdown ends, families will still have allowable absence days to use when their child is sick, or they go on holidays, or they need to keep their child home for any reason,” Minister Tudge said.

“It will further ease some of the pressures on families and protect child care providers by ensuring children stay enrolled and they continue to receive significant revenue through the child care subsidy.

“We know from the experience of last year that keeping children enrolled is critical to maintaining the flow of funding through to services, even though children are not attending care.”

Around 216,000 families across Greater Sydney that access child care services will benefit from this measure. The measure will also apply to around 150,000 families in areas of South-East Queensland currently under lockdown.

The additional allowable absences will be available once a lockdown goes past seven days until the Commonwealth declaration of a hotspot ends. In Greater Sydney, absences will be backdated to the start of the lockdown., allowing for at least nine weeks of additional absences.

This measure is on top of the recently announced ability for child care services to waive the gap fees for parents of children not attending care in Greater Sydney, and complements the significant economy-wide investment in business and individual support being offered by the Morrison Government.

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