On 2 April 2020, the Australian Government announced the new Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package, which means parents across the country are eligible to place their children into childcare whilst they work, or to secure their future spot at childcare without any out of pocket expenses.
This new Relief Package is a payment to support Childcare Service Providers so they can remain open amidst the Coronavirus outbreak. As many centres have seen a significant decline in attendances of late, these payments will ensure services can remain open, and all families who need it can access care.
Although this announcement has been met with open arms from many parents out there, there has also been some confusion around how it will work, and who is eligible. Therefore, we’ve taken the time to put together this simple guide to explain what this Childcare Relief Package means for you.
At a high level, here’s what you need to know…
- Parents won’t be charged any out of pocket expenses to have their child in childcare, or to hold their spot at a childcare centre.
- Everyone is eligible; however, priority is given to those who need it most.
- This package is in place until at least 30 June 2020. The end date will be confirmed in May 2020.
- Payments are made to the childcare provider, not to parents.
How the Relief Package applies to you…
We’ve broken down how this new Relief Package will apply to families in different circumstances.
Existing Families at Sunkids & your children are currently attending…
If you are enrolled at Sunkids, and your children are currently attending, you can continue as normal.
From 6 April 2020, you will not be charged any out of pocket expenses to keep your child in care.
There is no action required from you to receive this.
Existing Families enrolled at Sunkids & your children are not currently attending…
If you are enrolled at Sunkids, and you have decided your children are not to attend for COVID-19 reasons, you can continue to hold your spot without any out of pocket fees.
We encourage you to discuss your absences with your Centre Manager.
Previous families of Sunkids who have cancelled their enrolment…
If you were previously enrolled at Sunkids and decided to cancel this enrolment, we highly recommend that you re-enrol in order to secure a position for now and in the future.
Please contact your Centre Manager and we will easily be able to activate your enrolment once again.
From 6 April 2020, you will not be charged any out of pocket expenses to enrol your child in care.
New Families wanting to enrol at Sunkids & your children will attend…
If you are looking to join Sunkids, you can enrol your children at any Sunkids Centre where there is availability.
You will not have to pay any out of pocket expenses until June 30, 2020 (unless extended further).
New families wanting to enrol at Sunkids & children won’t attend yet…
If you are looking to join Sunkids, but not have your children attend just yet, you can enrol your children where there is availability.
We will hold your spot and you will not have to pay any out of pocket expenses until June 30, 2020 (unless extended further).
So, How does this Relief Package work?
Childcare is free for all parents – you won’t have to pay.
From 6 April 2020, all parents (those who can secure a spot based on the priorities, see below) will be able to place their children in care and pay nothing to do so. These parents will not be charged any fees, out of pocket expenses, or gap fees whatsoever.
Everyone can receive it, but there is a priority ranking.
There are limited positions within each centre, meaning the availability of these spots must be provided to those who need it most first. This is to ensure those parents who must leave their children in care so that they can work or those children who need care the most will be provided care first.
Here’s a simple breakdown of how the priority ranking will work…
- Parents who are still working will receive first priority, then
- Parents who cannot provide safe care for their kids at home, then
- Vulnerable Children, and finally
- Parents who have already taken their kids out childcare (if there are spots remaining)
This package is available until at least June 30, 2020.
The Australian Government announced that this Relief Package will be in place until at least June 30, 2020. However, after the first month (in early May) they will review the package and possibly extend it further.
Answers to your common questions…
Can I increase my child’s days in care?
Families who need to increase their hours or days will need to discuss it with their centre as it depends on availability. The priority ranking will still be applicable, meaning only those who need to be working and cannot care for their children will be given priority first.
Does my child still have to attend?
Not necessarily. Priority will be given to those children who need care most so their parents can continue to work. If there is still availability after these children have been cared for, then you can enrol your child and hold your spot without your child needing to attend. You won’t be charged any fees to do so.
Do I receive the money as a refund?
No. These payments are made directly to Childcare Service Providers. Parents will not be required to make any payments from 6 April 2020.
So what do I have to do?
- If you’re enrolled and still attending – there’s no actions needed.
- If you’re enrolled and not attending – discuss your absences with your Centre Manager.
- If you’ve cancelled your enrolment – contact your Centre Manager to re-enrol.
- If you want to start a new enrolment – contact your nearest Sunkids today. Click here to find your Sunkids.
Is childcare safe for my child to attend?
The Government’s current advice remains that childcare centres should remain open and that it’s safe for kids to be there. Our Prime Minister has stated on 2 April 2020, “There is no health risk to children going to school or going to childcare.”
Sunkids have implemented a number of proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of all children, staff and families. You can read more about them here.
Sunkids will continue to work closely with the Queensland Health Department as they communicate new information and provide updates so we can continue to ensure your child’s safety remains the number one priority.