Government announces gap fee waiver for NSW families across LDC and OSHC settings
The Australian Government has confirmed that it will allow early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, including outside school hours care (OSHC) services, in New South Wales to waive gap fees for parents who, due to COVID-19 restrictions, are keeping their children at home.
The waivers, which services will need to opt-in to, will be effective from Monday 19 July and apply specifically to families that are located in New South Wales Local Government Areas subject to stay at home orders.
The news will be welcomed by the ECEC community in NSW as it contends with an extensive outbreak of COVID-19, with the decision building on the previous gap fee waiver provision that applied specifically to families of a service that had been advised or directed by the Commonwealth to close due to an instance of direct COVID-19 exposure.
As a result of the newly announced changes any parent who elects to keep their child at home will be covered by the waiver even if their ECEC service remains open.
Federal Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said many services in the sector had been asking for this change and were expected to offer the gap-fee waiver.
“This opt-in measure ensures children remain enrolled in care and that the Commonwealth childcare subsidy continues to flow to the centre, providing a valuable, stable and certain source of revenue during this time,” he said.
“Importantly, this means providers can keep their staff employed so business can continue as usual when the stay at home orders end.”
During previous lockdowns in other states, the Minister continued, have demonstrated that even when services remain open, many parents “understandably” show a strong preference for keeping children at home.
“We are easing some of the pressure on families and encouraging them to keep their children enrolled, guaranteeing the continued flow of child care subsidies to service providers.”
The decision also supports the OSHC sector, which the Minister highlighted was “under particular pressure while school students are learning from home.”
Around 216,000 families across Greater Sydney that access childcare services could benefit from this measure, the Prime Minister said.
Further information about the decision is available here.