DESE school vacation updates regarding support in COVID-19 hotspots
Early childhood education and care providers (ECEC) in Commonwealth has declared COVID-19 hotspots (which last more than seven days) will be contacted by the Ministry of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) in the event that they become eligible for additional support during school holidays, however the following guide has been shared with support services to understand the types of support available.
This table also describes the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 support and clarifies the start and end of support.
Payments for OSHC and vacation
Out of School Hours Child Care (OSHC) that provides vacation child care in a eligible hotspot during the September / October 2021 school holidays will receive 40% of their pre-confinement income for the fortnight from September 20 to October 3.
The department will send business continuity payment offers to services providing vacation care in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory by Saturday, September 25.
Eligible services providing vacation care during school vacations will have to opt for these payments before October 7 to receive payment for the fortnight from September 20 to October 3.
OSHC Services in eligible access points will continue to receive business continuity payments even when a hotspot ends until all children of primary school age are allowed to return to school. The guidelines on payments for business continuity will be updated shortly to reflect this, the ministry said.
Families in hotspots
Support is available for families who live in a hotspot but have children enrolled in a service outside the hotspot.
Services that are not in a hotspot may waive the gap fee for children living in eligible access points while they are absent. These children will also be able to access additional authorized absences during the hotspot period. This applies from June 23. The Ministry will provide more information on this support shortly.
In addition, if a family in a hotspot longer than seven days chooses to end their child’s enrollment, any absence after the child’s last physical attendance will be eligible for Child care subsidy (CCS).
“There are important steps you need to take to end registrations in this situation,” a spokesperson for the department said. Learn what to do if a family terminates their registration during a hotspot.
“We will soon be repaying CCSs whose debts were lifted after July 12. You must pass it on to the family if you have incurred the debt with them. We will provide more information on this soon, ”the ministry added.
Services receiving business continuity payments
Services do not need to notify the Department if they are released from containment. If the hotspot ends within the first week of a business continuity payment fortnight, the service will still receive the full bi-monthly payment.
It is important to note that services must continue to waive the spread fee until the bi-monthly payment is complete.
“You must let us know if your situation changes and you no longer meet the payment terms,” the ministry said, sending an email to [email protected] and the change of circumstances request form.
In order to ensure that information on COVID-19 support is made available to services and providers, the Ministry has asked users to ensure that their contact details are up to date in the child care subsidy system. ‘children via the Supplier entry point or relevant third-party software.
Further details on COVID-19 support are available on the Department’s website, here.