Educator and parent? Changes are coming from late Jan, big discounts for children in care
Yesterday’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) update announced a number of changes relevant to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, with the most significant being that from 24 January 2022, ECEC providers can choose to offer a discounted fee to employees with children enrolled at one of their services.
The changes, Acting Minister for Education and Youth Stuart Robert said, will support existing educators in the sector, and attract new workers at a time when the sector is battling workforce shortages.
Providers can offer discounts to employees who are:
- Employed, contracted or engaged as an educator or early childhood teacher, and;
- who are working at a centre based or outside school hours care service, and;
- who have a child enrolled in an ECEC service where they work or which is owned by their provider
A centre director or OSHC coordinator who has an ECEC qualification and is working at a service is also eligible for the discount. The amount of the discount is to be determined by the approved provider, however educators must still pay at least five per cent of the gap fee.
Providers are not obligated to extend a discount offer to eligible employees.
For providers who choose to offer these discounts, the key change is that effective 24 January 2022, discounts are to be applied to the full fee, to ensure the employees CCS entitlements are not affected.
The example given by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment is as follows:
Sangeetha is an educator at a centre based service. Her average family income is $110,000 and she has a CCS rate of 71.67 per cent. Sangeetha’s child attends the service three days per week, and the daily fee for 10 hours of care is $106.50.
Her total weekly fee is $319.50. After CCS is applied, the service charges a gap fee of $90.51 per week.
From 24 January 2022, the service chooses to offer a discount to all employees. The service chooses to offer a discount of $20 per session of care, which recognises the need for employees to pay at least five per cent of the gap fee.
Under the new arrangements, Sangeetha’s gap fee is now $30.51 a week.
Key MYEFO measures (including previous announcements) in the ECEC space include:
- $73.9 million to extend the Government’s Inclusion Support Program to ensure that more children with additional needs receive the support they need.
- Support for gap fee discounts for early child care educators whose own children are in care and to attract new workers into the sector.
- $287.9 million in fortnightly payments since August 2021 to support eligible child care services affected by COVID-19 lockdowns in Commonwealth declared hotspots.
To access the Minister’s announcement please see here.
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