The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) is a not-for-profit, member-funded organisation advocating for the future of Australia's children.
We work on behalf of long day care owners and operators to ensure families and their children have an opportunity to access affordable, high quality early learning services throughout Australia.


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Payment & Leave: How do I go about paying staff in these instances?

ACA has sought workplace relations guidance from our legal partner - Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors (ABLA).

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Preventing the spread of the Coronavirus
As is always the case, educators and employees who are sick or showing symptoms of a common cold or flu need to avoid coming to the early learning centre. They should also obtain medical certificates or advice from medical professionals regarding isolation and time away from work.

Families should also keep their children away from the centre if their children are showing symptoms of illness.

Families with one person being tested for the Coronavirus
If  a child or other family member is advised by their medical practitioner that they should get tested for COVID-19, then all household members, even if they have no symptoms, are advised to also self-isolate while awaiting the test results. This guidance is reflected on the HealthDirect website -  you will need to type in 393 into the keyword search to bring this information up.

ACA recommends that service providers and families should refer to the Coronavirus symptom checker (provided by the Australian Government-funded Health Direct information service) if in any doubt about seeking medical attention.

You can also contact the National Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 020 080.

 

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Early learning sector-specific funding

Early Childhood Education & Care Relief Package - Transition Arrangements

On Monday 8th June Education Minister Dan Tehan announced that “the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package, introduced on 6 April, had done its job and would be turned off on 12 July".

In summary from 13 July:

  • the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) will return.
  • service providers will receive a Transition Payment of 25% of your fee revenue during the ECE Relief Package reference period (17 February to 1 March) until 27 September.
  • Activity Test exemptions will apply until 4 October.
  • ECEC Relief Package to continue until July 12.
  • Fees to be capped until September 28.

JobKeeper will cease for CCS-approved providers from 20 July.

Child Care Community Fund (CCCF) Special Circumstances grants will also be available to support services experiencing viability issues. This support will be targeted at services in areas of limited supply, and ensure families in regional, rural, remote areas and areas of disadvantage continue to have access to care.

Conditions
There are some conditions to be met in order to receive the Transition Payment:

  • Service providers must maintain employment of their team of staff, and they cannot increase fees beyond what they were charging in February.
  • Service providers must maintain employment levels. (Further details yet to be announced on this detail.)

 For more information visit the DESE webpage here


Broader general business funding

Boosting Cashflow For Employers
Additionally, the Australian Government has made available a Boosting Cashflow For Employers initiative, which provides up to $25,000 back to business, with a minimum payment of $2,000 for eligible businesses. The payment is aimed to provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses that employ staff, and is tax free.

You can read about the Boosting Cashflow For Employers initiative here.  

Additional measures

The Federal Government has also made available the following measures: 

 
You can read more about the Australian Government's Coronavirus business support initiatives here


ATO Relief Options
Meanwhile the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has implemented some additional relief options for businesses experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the Coronavirus. You can read about them here. 

Insolvency and bankruptcy rules relaxed
The package also contains measures to temporarily relax insolvency and bankruptcy laws, in particular an increase of the threshold at which creditors can take action to initiate insolvency from $2,000 to $20,000 and gives companies and individuals six months instead of the usual 21 days to respond. Personal liability of directors has also been suspended for the next six months.

Banks to defer loan payments for 6 months
The Australian Banking Association announced on Friday, 20 March 2020, that Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

Banks are already reaching out to business customers about the assistance available. The Assistance Package will apply to more than $100bn of existing small business loans and could put as much as $8b back into the pockets of small businesses.

Small businesses are encouraged to reach out to their banks about whether or not this applies to them. The Assistance Package applies as of Monday 23 March 2020.

State/Territory government financial support 
All State and Territory Governments apart from South Australia have released stimulus packages designed to support business and households impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can read about each of these here 


Please be aware that ACA will continue to engage with the Australian Government about how these financial measures are affecting our sector, and the outcomes they are producing. Should you need any particular assistance or if you would like to provide feedback, please contact your ACA state body.   

 

Click here to return to our Coronavirus Homepage.

 

CoronaVirusUpdate

In the context of the Coronavirus, ACA has continued to receive calls from concerned members about how the various aspects may affects the day-to-day running of services. 

Below is an update along with some FAQ's which we hope you find useful and informative.

Please note that our Coronavirus webpage is now the central hub of all relevant updates. 

What is the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? 

The Coronavirus is a virus that can cause illnesses that can range from the common cold to more severe diseases. Symptoms include:

  • fever
  • flu like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and headaches; and
  • difficulty breathing.

Stopping the spread of the Coronavirus - when should I exclude children or staff?

As is always the case, sick educators and employees need to avoid coming to the centre. They should also obtain be medical certificates or advice from medical professionals regarding isolation or time away from work.

Services should refer to the latest advice issued by the Australian Government Department of Health and refer to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for schools and early childhood centres, students and parents information sheet.

In terms of recent international travel, on 15th March the Australian Government updated their self-isolate guidanceAs of midnight Sunday 15th March people returning to Australia from any international travel will be required to self-isolate for 14 days

  • If they develop a fever or cough, they should seek medical advice urgently and self-isolate.

Please refer to the isolation guidelines that relate to each country on the Department of Health webpage here.

 

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