Goodstart announces an end to public holiday charging
Goodstart Early Learning, the largest provider of early childhood education and care (ECEC) in Australia, will no longer charge families on public holidays, ending a long-standing sector practice for large providers in what has been termed “a win for the nation’s parents.”
CEO for the Group, Julia Davison, said New Year’s Day, 1 January 2020, will be the first free public holiday under the new policy, which has been amended based on feedback from families who feel that charging on public holidays, when their centre is closed, is unfair.
Ms Davison said that, as a not for profit entity, Goodstart believes access to high quality early learning should be affordable and equitable, and the decision to not charge on public holidays is a step change toward “making it fairer for our families.”
Balancing the desire for fairness with the need to meet operational costs was a consideration, she added, before outlining that Goodstart “have worked hard to find a way to implement this major change in our pricing policy.”
Goodstart staff will continue to be paid for the public holidays they are entitled to. Goodstart will absorb some of the cost of no longer charging parents for public holidays, with the remainder of the cost to be met through a fee increase of around $3 per day for the bulk of families (exclusive of Child Care Subsidy) which will allow the change to be made while meeting wage and rent costs.
Goodstart Early Learning are the first large early learning provider in Australia to cease charging on public holidays. This, Ms Davison said, gives families “a much fairer go. Especially as many parents and carers have to work on public holidays and many of them were paying for childcare they could not access.”
Exemptions to the fee change will apply to families who are paying for six-hour sessions or two-day nine-hour kindergarten sessions, who will be excused from any increase to ensure at risk and vulnerable children still have access to quality early learning and care.
Ms Davison said the majority of families would be better off under the change, however a small percentage of families would see a “slight increase” across the year, but fee modelling would ensure this was kept to a minimum.
In 2020, four of the nine nationally observed public holidays fall on a Monday, with four of the eight States and Territories are declaring an additional public holiday which also falls on a Monday.
Ms Davison said previously this meant a family who booked a Monday in a long day care centre could be paying for four to five days of care a year that they could not use.
“This will no longer be the case which we think is a much fairer system and highlights our commitment as a social enterprise to work with our families and our people to provide better outcomes for all children.”
For more information, visit the Goodstart website, here.