Childcare places will be held for kids with Covid-19 and gap fees will be waived in a bid to help parents with mounting cost-of-living pressures.
Emergency pandemic support measures that were due to expire on June 30 will be extended for another year to help families keep their children enrolled in early learning and care.
Families will not be left out of pocket if their child gets Covid-19 after Education Minister Jason Clare confirmed centres would be able to waive gap fees and still claim the government subsidy.
In addition, each child in childcare can be absent for 52 days a year – up 10 days from before the pandemic – without losing their place.
Mr Clare said extending the provisions beyond June 30 was a “simple and sensible measure” that would give parents and providers greater certainty while Covid-19, cost-of-living pressures and workforce shortages challenged the sector.
“This is just common sense,” Mr Clare said.
“Keeping kids enrolled in childcare is good for them, good for families and good for the economy.”
With Covid-19 infection rates still high across the country and influenza circulating widely for the first time since 2019, around 19 childcare centres in Australia are closed each day.
Early Childhood Minister Anne Aly said the extension of measures would give certainty while children under five could not be vaccinated.
“Early childhood education is an investment in our children, our youth and our future,” Dr Aly said.
“And I’m proud to be part of a government that understands the value of early childhood education and prioritises it.”
To receive the support, providers must use government notice of a positive test as a form of evidence for additional absences.
Gap fees can also be waived if children are absent from childcare because an immediate household member has Covid-19.
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