Childcare centres in Sydney’s lockdown can chose to waive gap-fees for parents who keep their kids at home under new government support rules.
Gap fees are the out-of-pocket fees paid on top of the childcare subsidy.
The measure is opt-in, so childcare centres will have to choose to participate — but the federal government says many in the sector had been calling for the change.
Parents will have to keep their children enrolled but will not be charged the out-of-pocket fees for days that their children do not attend.
The fee waiver will only apply to areas currently under lockdown orders and will be available from Monday, July 19.
Gap fees are already being waived in circumstances where childcare centres are forced to close due to public health orders.
And boosted childcare subsidies are also available for people who have lost income due to the lockdown.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the opt-in financial support had proven to be the best way to deal with the challenge.
“We’ve done this several times now, it’s proved to be the most effective way to do it,” Mr Morrison said.
“The families and the centres know each other very well and will come to those arrangements.”
Mr Morrison said the support would be available to about 3,600 childcare services in Greater Sydney area.
NSW childcare COVID restrictions
Childcare centres currently have an exemption to remain open during the lockdown.
Families can attend childcare centres in Greater Sydney to pick up and drop off children.
Parents and carers need to wear masks during pick up and drop off.
Early childhood staff are not required to wear a face mask when they are working directly with children.
However, staff are recommended to wear masks or face coverings at other times while indoors.