COVID-19: When will the waivers of gap fees end?

The short answer is, in the absence of full information from the Federal Department of Education, this question could not be answered at the time of writing this article.


It is true that the Federal Government’s declaration of NSW hotspots are purportedly to end on 11 October 2021, and we have not yet received advice to confirm if this will be extended.


But until there is clarity from the Federal Department, the Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW urges members to wait for appropriate information from them before making decisions on the waiver of gap fees.


Obligations while receiving Business Continuity Payments


For those services who are continuing to receive the Federal Government’s Business Continuity Payments (BCPs), the waiver of gap fees must continue.


At this stage, the current fortnight of BCPs will end on 15 October 2021. Hence, waiver of gap fees where applicable must continue at least until then.


Obligations for services who are NOT receiving Business Continuity Payments


When not receiving BCPs, the waiver of gap fees is optional. Once the obligation to collect gap fees becomes compulsory again, a service must comply in order to qualify to continue receiving Child Care Subsidies.


New NSW Premier Perrottet’s revised roadmap to COVID-normal


Earlier today (7 October 2021), NSW Premier Perrottet brought forward the return of all students back to school by 25 October 2021, with children in kindergarten, year 1 and year 2 by 18 October 2021.      


By extension, it could be presumed that the NSW Government will cease its “stay-at-home” messages to parents/guardians from 18 October 2021 onwards, which may therefore affect the Federal Government's consideration of NSW's hotspots.


Other unknowns for consideration


Going forward, services will also need clarification on and assurances of the return of the BCPs and the waiver of gap fees when the inevitable positive COVID cases and temporary closures occur in the future.


ACA National and ACA NSW are communicating with both tiers of governments to achieve clarity on a range of questions, especially as circumstances change through the five milestone dates.


Should you require any further information/clarification, you can contact the ACA NSW team on 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au.


PUBLISHED: 7 OCTOBER 2021

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