Uniting NSW.ACT to stand down team members as JobKeeper omission takes toll
Not-for-profit early education and care provider Uniting NSW.ACT has confirmed that it will be standing down 45 team members from across its network of 56 centres effective 4 May for an initial period of four weeks.
The move comes after a period of intense advocacy during which Uniting NSW.ACT has worked hard to address the organisation’s omission from the JobKeeper funding package announced earlier in the month and despite the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) confirming that the organisation would be eligible for “top up” payments as part of their latest round of policy adjustments.
Uniting Head of Early Learning, Rod Nadwie-Smith said “The Federal Government’s childcare package did a great job of providing security to families and the majority of the sector” before adding that Uniting, as a multi-service not-for-profit, had fallen through the cracks because it wasn’t eligible for JobKeeper which was designed to go hand in hand with the relief package.
Although he welcomed and was grateful for the Federal Government’s latest commitment to support those providers excluded from JobKeeper, including large charities, with access to Exceptional Circumstances Supplementary payments Mr Nadwie-Smith noted that “Technically nothing has changed, we still haven’t got confirmation on how much money, what the conditions are or what it means for us,” he said.
Against this backdrop Uniting NSW.ACT has pushed forward with the difficult decision to stand down 45 team members to try and help mitigate expected losses of up to $1 million a month from across its network as forced revenue reductions and a lack of clarity on workforce related subsidy offsets take their toll.
“It’s heartbreaking to have to stand down some of our talented and committed team of educators” Mr Nadwie-Smith said, adding that during the stand-down, “our employees will continue to be contracted to Uniting. We hope that we can return to normal operations in the near future and that these impacted employees return to us to continue their important work.”
Looking ahead Uniting NSW.ACT highlighted that funding certainty was essential to enable them to keep the remainder of their team employed, and to continue to provide ECEC services to the 4,500 children that attend care across their network.