Federal Government extends COVID support measures to keep enrolment numbers high
COVID-19 related support measures for the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, which were due to expire 30 June 2022, have been extended this morning.
Jason Clare, Minister for Education, has extended the measures below with the intention of supporting families to maintain their ECEC enrolments:
- giving each child in childcare 52 days a year absence without missing out on their childcare subsidy – 10 more than is normally available
- using government notice of a positive COVID-19 test as a form of evidence for the extra paid absences
- allowing services to receive the subsidy and waive the gap fee until 30 June 2023:
- when closed or partially closed due to staff falling ill
- if a child is absent because they or an immediate household family member has COVID-19
- for children not attending care because they are at higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19
An average of 19 services around Australia are currently closing on any given day due to COVID-19 infections or Influenza A being present, something which the Minister said “makes it hard for childcare providers and parents to plan with any certainty.”
While COVID numbers remain high, the Federal Government has pledged to continue to provide targeted support, particularly as children under the age of five years are unable to be vaccinated.
“Extending these provisions beyond 30 June is a simple and sensible measure which will give parents and providers greater certainty while COVID-19, cost-of-living pressures and workforces shortages continue to challenge the sector,” Minister Clare added.
Further information in relation to the extension is expected to be released by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment later today. Announcements from the Department may be accessed here.
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