Only closed on Public Holidays? Here’s what you need to know about CCS and Christmas
Many early childhood education and care (ECEC) services offer flexible arrangements for families over the Christmas and New Year period, catering for the challenges faced at this busy time of year.
Unfortunately for some, this flexibility may result in inadvertently breaching their requirements and responsibilities in relation to the Child Care Subsidy (CCS).
To support this, The Sector has summarised key information that service providers need to be aware of in relation to the Christmas/New Year period and CCS provision.
When is the helpdesk open?
The Child Care Subsidy (CCS) Helpdesk will close for the 2021-22 Christmas/New Year period from 12.30pm (AEDT) on Friday 24 December 2021 through to 9am (AEDT) on Tuesday 4 January 2022.
As a result of the closure session reports submitted on the following dates may experience short delays in processing or payment due to public holidays:
- Thursday 23 December 2021
- Friday 24 December 2021
- Saturday 25 December 2021
- Monday 27 December 2021
- Tuesday 28 December 2021
- Monday 3 January 2022.
Closing early? Opening late? Here’s what you need to know
For those services who alter their hours over the Christmas/New Year period (for example closing the service at 12:30pm on Christmas Eve) it is important to notify the Department of the change within 14 days, which is a requirement under Family Assistance Law.
Penalties may apply to those services who fail to comply within the specified time frames.
Changes can be logged using the relevant third party software provider or the Provider Entry Point (PEP.)
Lots of children away? Service closed? How to record absences
Services must only submit session reports for the hours during which they are open and providing care, unless it is a public holiday, there is a local emergency, or (until 30 June 2022), they are closed on health advice from a government agency due to COVID-19.
Providers cannot report attendances for days that the service is closed. Services can only report attendances for sessions of care that a child was present.
A public holiday is not an additional absence reason. A child is only eligible for additional absences on a public holiday if all of the following apply:
- the 52 initial absence days in the 2021–22 financial year have been used;
- it is a day the child normally attends care;
- you have charged a fee;
- one of the additional absence reasons applies (e.g. sickness); or,
- written evidence supports the additional absence reason (e.g. a medical certificate).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all families receive an extra 10 allowable absences for the 2021–22 financial year. This brings the total number of allowable absences available to 52.
This is in addition to the extra allowable absences provided during lockdowns and when access to child care was restricted.
Services can report absences and receive CCS for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day public holidays if:
- the family has been charged a fee for those days; and,
- the public holiday falls on a day that the child would normally be in care.
The Department has prepared a table to further support services to understand their obligations around absence reporting.
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