Extra funding is available for childcare services where 30pc of staff are ineligible for JobKeeper. Image by Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS


Struggling childcare operators get top-up

2020-05-21 16:57:45

Childcare services where many staff can’t get government wage subsidies have been thrown an extra lifeline.

A review of the emergency overhaul to childcare funding, a month into its operation, found three-quarters said the new arrangements were keeping them financially viable during the coronavirus crisis.

But there were “pockets of dissatisfaction”, the review said.

Seven in eight services had applied for the JobKeeper wage subsidy, but some found many of their staff were ineligible.

After-school care tended to have too many short-term casuals, many family day care operators didn’t have ABNs and about one in 20 childcare centres had a high proportion of staff on temporary visas.

Education Minister Dan Tehan on Wednesday announced an extra $12 million of funding for services where more than 30 per cent of their staff are ineligible for JobKeeper.

The government will also add $800,000 in funding to in-home care providers, many of whom were working for families of essential shift workers.

“The government continues to review and assess the relief package in light of our success at flattening the curve and other issues raised by the new system,” Mr Tehan said.

Under the special arrangements, the government is guaranteeing childcare operators their taxpayer funding as it stood in late February – about half their usual revenue – plus the JobKeeper wage subsidy to those eligible.

But they can’t charge parents the usual gap fee.

These arrangements are in place until the end of June and the government is considering whether to extend them for a further three months.

The sector has asked for four weeks’ notice before funding reverts to the previous combination of subsidies and parental fees.