How do you handle COVID-19 childcare absences?
COVID-19: Childcare Centre Support
This is an excerpt from the Special Government Webcast held at 11:30am on 19 March 2020.
UPDATE (Weds 25):
(1) all families will be allocated an additional 20 days of allowable absences to use in the 2019-2020 financial year
(2) if additional absences are required for COVID-19 related reasons, medical evidence will not be required – active until 31 December 2020
(3) services will not be required to recover gap fees between now and 31 December 2020 where they are instructed to close on public health direction [Note: A legislative requirement is in place that providers must not increase fees during this period.]
Source- Department of Education
If your service is open and you have absent children due to COVID-19, the Department of Education encourages providers to charge no fees, in consideration of the outbreak of COVID-19. The requirement for families to pay the co-contribution has not changed. Ultimately it is up to the service to make this decision.
Instead, you should follow the existing arrangements:
- CCS can be paid for up to 42 absence days per child, per financial year, without the need for families to provide documentation. This covers all circumstances, including where a child does not attend care as a result of the family’s choosing as a precaution against COVID-19 (whether the child is actually ill or not).
- If a child is not ill, additional absences can be claimed beyond 42 days as follows:
- Some medical practitioners may support families by providing a medical certificate allowing them access to additional absences as a precaution against COVID-19
- If a child does not attend care for a month or longer, please ensure the family is aware of the advice around longer absences (as set out in the Child Care Provider Handbook). It is important to note that an enrolment automatically ceases when a child does not attend care for 14 weeks.
For further information, please contact the Child Care Subsidy Helpdesk 1300 667 276 or email@example.com
If a child becomes ill while they are at the service, they should be sent home as soon as possible. While awaiting collection by their carer, the child should ideally be cared for in an area that is separated from other children at the service. Contact your public health unit immediately on 1300 066 055 if you are notified that a child or staff member at your service has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Please visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Frequently Asked Questions for more information for providers and services and Coronavirus (COVID-19) for the latest education and training sector fact sheets.
- The CCS Helpdesk is available to assist with information for services to help them manage the impacts on their business. Please email the CCS Helpdesk on firstname.lastname@example.org, send in your query via an online form or call 1300 667 276 between 9.00 am — 5.00 pm (AEDST), Monday to Friday.
Please make sure that if you are a child care provider or service you have subscribed to receive communications from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.