With 1.3 million children in childcare and about 200,000 staff employed in the early childhood education and care sector, services throughout Australia will continue to remain open. The federal government's expert medical advice is for early childhood services to remain open and children to continue to attend childcare centres, except for those services directed by health authorities to close.
State and federal governments are negotiating funding support for the early childhood industry.
Families will not be penalised if their children miss childcare days and services that close because of the coronavirus will still be able to get federal subsidies to ensure they can reopen if they're forced to close.
"We are making changes to ensure Australian families and early childhood services will continue to receive financial support through the Child Care Subsidy if their children can’t attend child care because of COVID-19. By paying the Child Care Subsidy to services that are forced to close temporarily, we are providing financial support to services to pay their staff and remain viable so they can re-open when it is safe to do so."
The Morrison government will increase the number of days that a family can continue to claim the Child Care Subsidy in cases where a child is absent from childcare for more than the currently allowable 42 days.
It will also give the family access to additional absences, without the need for evidence, in relation to COVID-19, and waive the current obligation of childcare services to require a family to pay gap fees if the service is forced to close.
But the changes will apply only to childcare services that have to close based on public health advice, not where a centre closes voluntarily.
Childcare Rules To Be Relaxed To Help Familie, Sydney Morning Herald, 23 March 202