In some good news for Victorian parents, struggling in light of the current lockdown, the government has announced additional support measures to provide financial relief to families and support the child care sector.
The new measures offer:
- A Recovery Payment of 25 per cent of pre-COVID revenue to child care services in Victoria, until 31 January 2021. The Recovery Payment will start for Centre Based Day Care, Family Day Care and In Home Care on 28 September in Victoria. The 40 per cent Recovery Payment for Outside School Hours Care will also start in Victoria when in-school teaching returns (anticipated to be mid to late October).
- An extra payment of 15 per cent of pre-COVID revenue for Victorian Outside School Hours Care services, increasing their total support payments to 40 per cent of revenue.
- A child care fee freeze for Victorian families until 31 January.
- Continuing the Employment Guarantee to ensure that Victorian providers receiving the recovery payment pass support payments on to educators and employees through wages and payments.
- Relaxation of the activity test for all Australian families whose activity level has been impacted by COVID-19 will be extended to 4 April 2021.
What does this mean for Victorian families?
While many of these measures are aimed to support the financial viability of early education providers, there are some additional changes which directly impact families.
Activity Test exemption
As described above, the government has extended the Activity Test exemption, which means that families can still access up to 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight, regardless of recent changes to their income, work or activity hours.
This means that if your work/activity hours have reduced, or even if you have stopped working completely, you can still send your child to their early learning service at the subsidised rate.
The Activity Test extension goes through until 4 April 2021 and also applies to families who live in other parts of Australia.
In addition to the Activity Test exemption for parents, all Victorian children can access an extra 30 days of allowable absences, on top of the existing 42 days allocated for the 2020-21 financial year. This means each Victorian child has 72 days of allowable absences available to them until 30 June 2021.
These additional absences have been applied to family accounts for services to access as and when required.