Free childcare for Australian parents to support essential workers during coronavirus pandemic
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced early childcare will be free as the government works to support parents who work essential jobs to keep the country moving.
The new support arrangements, which impacts approximately 13,000 facilities across the country, will form part of a new childcare system due to come into place on Sunday night.
Almost one million Australian families will benefit from the measures.
Childcare facilities will be assisted by the government in paying wages of their staff.
As part of the plan, the government will pay 50 per cent of the childcare centre’s revenue based on a period of time before which parents began removing their children from facilities as a result of COVID-19.
The funding will apply to facilities from April 6, and will be based on the number of children who were in care at the centre prior to March 2 – regardless of whether or not they were attending.
Childcare staff wages will still be supplemented by the government’s $1500 JobKeeper payment.
Mr Morrison said it was imperative that Australian households be supported, particularly if they have members working in essential jobs.
Childcare centres will be paid 50 per cent of their normal revenue, as well as receiving the government’s $1500 JobKeeper payment. (AAP)
“Relief is on its way for around a million Australian families and thousands of early learning educators and carers,” the Prime Minister said.
“These services are vital for so many parents so they can provide for their family, and children need as much familiarity and continuity as we can help provide at this unsettling time.
“Priority will be given to working parents, vulnerable and disadvantaged children that need early education more than ever and parents with pre-existing enrolments.”
On average, 60 per cent of a childcare facilities’ expenses are the wages of its staff.
The government said until payments arrive to facilities, services will be allowed to waive gap fees for families who keep their children home, and families will be able to use the 20 extra absence days the government has funded for coronavirus related reasons without giving up their place in a child care centre.
Minister for Education Dan Tehan said parents who have ended their childcare arrangements are being encouraged to re-connect with their provider. Priority will be given to working parents, vulnerable and disadvantaged children that need early education. (AAP)