G8 Education commits to passing on in full gap fee waivers as COVID continues
G8 Education has confirmed that it will be passing on in full the Federal Government gap fee waiver to families enrolled in services that are in areas declared as COVID-19 hotspots by the Commonwealth Government for more than seven days.
The provider also committed to extend a 35 per cent discount on fees to those families who elected to keep children at home during the time period between a lockdown being declared and the seven day provision kicking in, and/or because the area had not yet been declared as a hotspot.
The measures, G8 Education CEO Gary Carroll said, were intended to alleviate the pressure on families so that they were able to make choices that would help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout communities by limiting movement.
“It is critical that our centres remain open for vulnerable children, essential workers and those who cannot work from home,” Mr Carroll said.
“Many families who are working remotely have kept their children at home, but we also respect the decisions of those who cannot perform their jobs adequately while also juggling the care of infants and toddlers.”
He acknowledged that extending the gap fee waiver would come at considerable cost to the company, a point highlighted in a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, which drew attention to the significant financial cost that the lockdown, particularly in New South Wales, was having on the broader early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector.
“G8 Education has the advantage of scale and is in a position to absorb some short term losses however it is not sustainable in the long term,” Mr Carroll said.
“We have taken a critical look at operations to see where we can make savings without compromising the quality of education and care, and remain hopeful that the Federal Government will offer a support package that will support the sector.”
Mr Carroll was forthright about the obligations of the provider to its employees, saying that G8 Education has made “a non-negotiable commitment” to retain all permanent team members.
He spoke about the high degree of stress felt by employees at this challenging time, commenting that “the last thing they need right now is uncertainty about job security.”
“As an organisation we have a duty to stand by our G8 team members and our focus is on the future when the need for quality ECEC will be greater than ever.”
“The early learning sector will have a vital role to play in the nation’s economic recovery but it cannot make that contribution without educators and teachers,” Mr Carroll said in closing.
For more information about the experience of various providers with the gap fee waiver provision, please see here.