Childcare gap-free waiver for NSW families in Covid-affected areas.

The Morrison Government will provide additional support for New South Wales by allowing childcare services to waive gap-fees for parents keeping their children at home due to current COVID-19 restrictions.

Under current NSW restrictions child care services can remain open to provide care for those who need it, but we know that many parents choose to keep their children home.

From Monday July 19, childcare centres in New South Wales Local Government Areas subject to stay at home orders can waive gap-fees on the days that parents choose to keep their children at home. The gap fee is the difference between the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) the Government pays to a service and the remaining fee paid by the family.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said around 216,000 families across Greater Sydney that access childcare services could benefit from this measure.

“When gap-fees are waived families will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs for those days that their children are at home during the current stay at home period,” the Prime Minister said.

“This is another measure that will make life easier for many families in Greater Sydney during these challenging times.

“This adds to the significant financial support we have already announced in conjunction with the NSW Government to back families and businesses, and provide additional mental health support.”

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said many in the sector had been asking for this change and were expected to offer the gap-fee waiver.

“This opt-in measure ensures children remain enrolled in care and the Commonwealth childcare subsidy continues to flow to the centre, providing a valuable, stable and certain source of revenue during this time,” Minister Tudge said.

“Previous lockdowns show that even when child care remains open, there is an understandably strong preference to keep kids at home.

“We are easing some of the pressure on families and encouraging them to keep their children enrolled, guaranteeing the continued flow of child care subsidy to service providers.

“Importantly, this means providers can keep their staff employed so business can continue as usual when the stay at home orders end.

“Today’s decision will also support Outside School Hours Care sector, which is under particular pressure while school students are learning from home.”

The measure builds on the existing gap fee waiver that is currently in place until 31 December 2021, where gap fees can be waived if a service is directed to close due to public health advice.

Families experiencing a loss of income, such as casual workers or those in self-isolation, may also be eligible for support through the Additional Child Care Subsidy (temporary financial hardship).

The Morrison Government has committed around $3 billion to support the early childhood education and care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Local Government Areas are: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Central Coast, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Shellharbour, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly, Wollongong and Woollahra.

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