Update on JobKeeper and the family day care sector
Legislation introduced this week confirms the following:
- that approved providers of one or more approved child care services are not entitled to JobKeeper payments from 20 July 2020 for their employees (if the sole business activity of the employer is to provide those child care services); and
- this is also a condition of continued approval under the Child Care Subsidy Minister's Rules.
What remains unclear is the position of family day care educator regarding JobKeeper eligibility post 20 July 2020.
FDCA has been seeking clarification from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) as to how, if at all, the amendments apply to family day care educators' eligibility for JobKeeper post 20 July 2020.Guidance to date has been ambiguous and, at times, contradictory. Our interpretation of the legislation is that there is no current measure that revokes the JobKeeper eligibility status for family day care educators that are independent contractor sole traders and we continue to advocate around this issue.
A number of other issues of significance remain outstanding with DESE and the ATO which FDCA continues to pursue, the most prominent of those being:
- ATO revocation of JobKeeper eligibility for educators registered after 1 January 2020. We have put forth our position citing that this is contrary to previous outcomes of negotiations between FDCA, DESE and ATO and await an outcome.
- JobKeeper equivalent Supplementary Payment applications. FDCA collated all cases put forward from the sector after our call to action, and has presented them to DESE. We are aware that a number have been approved yet many appear to remain outstanding or continue to be rejected due to poor program administration.
We will keep members informed of progress in this area as it arises.
PLEASE NOTE: FDCA is aware of a number of social media posts that are causing confusion on these issues. FDCA strongly advises that members do not take any unverified advice from third parties on social media regarding their JobKeeper eligibility status. Please await guidance from FDCA in relation to these matters.
The relevant legislative instruments made this week that apply to the family day care sector are the:
Transition Payment Practice Guidance for family day care services
Last week, Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) made available the Transition Payment Practice Guidance to service members.
The guidance, commissioned by FDCA and funded by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), has been independently developed by Deloitte Australia and is designed to assist services work through the complexities of distributing the Transition Payment upon the return to the Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS).
The Transition Payment Practice Guidance has been informed by FDCA's COVID-19 Advisory Committee, which comprises stakeholders from services across the country, who provided valuable input in the development of the guidance.
We must emphasise that this is guidance only and ultimately discretion lies with each service.
This guidance serves to support reflective practice in the ethical disbursement of Transition Payments and, where necessary, inform this process for services seeking guidance around the right model for them.
The guidance is also accompanied by the Viability Point Disbursement Guidance Tool which is a practical tool designed to assist services in calculating an equitable disbursement model to educators where appropriate.
Why has FDCA published the Transition Payment Practice Guidance?
It is evident that the interests of services and educators need to be balanced in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for all stakeholders upon the return to the CCSS and, as such, it was an ethical imperative that FDCA engage independent expert advice.
The Transition Payment Practice Guidance may prompt critical reflection and provide either alternative perspectives and/or reaffirm some of your own rationales. It may also assist in facilitating discussions with your educators around the reasoning behind your disbursement/retention methodology.
Where to from here?
FDCA has encouraged services to utilise the guidance as a tool for professional conversations with educators. Collaborative partnerships are a key underpinning of quality in family day care, as identified in the research commissioned by FDCA titled Perspectives on Quality in Australian Family Day Care conducted by the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre.
To access the Transition Payment Practice Guidance click here.
If you would like any further information or have any questions about the Transition Payment Practice Guidance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to the Child Care Subsidy System next week: Information for Families
As members are well aware, Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is starting again on 13 July 2020.
Educators and services may wish to pass on the following information to families accessing care through their service in order to ensure that families are well-informed and prepared for next week:
“If you were receiving CCS before 6 April 2020, it will automatically start again if you’ve stayed eligible and your enrolment is current and confirmed.
Follow these five steps to make sure you’ve stayed eligible and receive the right amount of CCS:
- Give Centrelink your 2020–21 family income estimate to receive the correct CCS percentage and avoid an overpayment.
- Check your activity hours to receive the correct amount of hours of CCS per fortnight*.
- Make sure your child meets immunisation requirements.
- Check your child’s enrolment details are current with your child care service and re-enrol if you need to.
- Confirm your income for 2018–19 if you haven’t already by 30 June 2020.
*From 13 July 2020, the Australian Government is easing the activity test for CCS. This means you may be able to apply for extra activity hours if COVID-19 has affected you. There will be more information about how to do this in July.
If you’re new to child care, you should claim CCS as soon as possible. From 13 July 2020, you’ll pay full fees unless you’re getting CCS.
For more information, visit Services Australia.
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has created an information sheet for families about the transition arrangements for the end of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package and the return to CCS.”
Australian Government announces gap fee waiver for areas in Stage 3 lockdown
Yesterday the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, announced that the Government will allow all services located in areas subject to Stage 3 COVID-19 restrictions, including metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire in Victoria, to waive parent gap fees if children are not attending child care for COVID-related reasons from Monday 13 July.
Minister Tehan stated that "waiving the parents’ gap fees will also ensure child care services maintain their enrolments and continue to be paid the CCS, even if a child is absent for a COVID-related reason."
FDCA will keep members informed of any additional details regarding the announcement as they come to hand.
To view the media release please click here.
Attention new educators, are you ready for 13 July?
As we approach the transition back to the Child Care Subsidy System (CCSS) on 13 July 2020, we know that many new educators are preparing to start their family day care business.
To support you in ensuring that you get the best start to your family day care journey, herein we profile the new Family Day Care Australia Member Zone.
FDCA’s new Member Zone provides you with access to tools that will help you market and promote your business, self-guided, self-paced professional learning tools and resources to help run a successful family day care business and to deliver the best possible learning and developmental outcomes for children.
Marketing and promotions
Our new Member Zone provides you with members-only access to tools that can be used to promote and grow your business.
As an FDCA member, you already have a free listing on our new and improved Family Day Care Locator. You can customise your listing by updating your business name, vacancy details and uploading a photo to help your listing stand out from the crowd.
A short video is available to educators about the Family Day Care Locator here.
You also have access to the FDCA ‘Market My Business Hub’ which provides free, customised digital marketing material such as brochures, posters, flyers and graphics. You can even request a copy of FDCA's family day care television commercials that you can share on your own digital networks.
Through the Member Zone you can also take advantage of the FDCA Professional Learning Portal. You are able to access a growing library of self-guided, self-paced professional learning modules and resources that can be delivered how and when it suits you; saving time and money.
The FDCA Member Zone also houses a wide range of family day care specific resources and factsheets that can be exclusively accessed by FDCA members such as FDCA's popular NQF Checkpoint Series.
Stay up to date
You will be able to stay up to date with the latest news and information from the early childhood education and care sector by accessing comprehensive catalogues of FDCA's weekly newsletter, Family Day Care Matters and digital editions of our print publication, JiGSAW via the Member Zone.
If you haven't activated your FDCA Member Zone account, simply click here and enter your email address to create your Member Zone password.
Do you understand your insurance obligations?
To help new educators understand the importance of insurance and their obligations we've developed a short educational video that explains and navigates the various insurances required by family day care educators.
The video explains:
- The various risk exposures;
- Which policies will respond to what incidents; and
- Emphasises the importance of insurance cover that goes beyond the minimum requirements in providing protection for educators, their business and the children in their care.
You can view the video by clicking here.
As your national peak body, we understand the specific nature of the family day care sector, and want to ensure that educators not only meet the minimum regulatory requirements but ensure they have great value insurance that provides the cover they need for themselves, their business and the children in their care.
FDCA 2021 National Conference 12-Month instalment plan closes 31 August 2020
Members are reminded that the 12-month instalment plan for the FDCA 2021 National Conference is only available up until 31 August 2020.
We know that the instalment plans are very popular amongst members as an option to purchase conference tickets via small monthly payments. The 12-month instalment plan allows members to secure their conference ticket through 12 instalments of $52.
We also understand that it has been a very challenging time for the sector and therefore we will be looking to give members as many flexible options as possible in regards to securing tickets to the FDCA 2021 National Conference.
Please keep an eye on your inbox for further information about additional instalment plan options.
To find out more about the FDCA 2021 National Conference visit, www.fdca.com.au/conference.
Do you need a National Police Check?
Family day care services may periodically require existing educators to undertake a National Police Check. FDCA members are exclusively able to access the lowest priced National Police Check on the market at $37.50! If your service requests that you or your family members obtain a National Police Check, head to www.fdcapolicechecks.com.au. Checks can generally be done online in less than 15 minutes.
A service may request a National Police Check as approved providers have obligations under both the Education and Care Services National Regulations and the Child Care Subsidy Minister's Rules 2017 to ensure the fitness and propriety of all educators registered with the service. As such, services may have a policy that requires educators or other personnel to undertake a National Police Check regularly, for example, annually.
Additionally, you will need to undertake a National Police Check if you transfer to a different family day care service. When an approved provider registers a new family day care educator to a service, the provider must provide a declaration to the Department of Education and Training, within 7 days, that they have sighted the National Police Check (that is no more than 6 months old).
To support the sector in meeting these requirements and as your not-for-profit national peak body, FDCA has become an accredited provider of National Police Checks through the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).
If you have any questions or need assistance please call 1800 658 699 or email email@example.com.
Winter JiGSAW cover photo competition winner announced
We are pleased to announce that the winning photo in our winter JiGSAW cover photo competition has been selected.
Congratulations to Melissa from Wingecarribee Children's Services who shared a beautiful photo of family day care educator Sam and little Mim.
You can view a copy of the photo and cover of the upcoming winter JiGSAW on the FDCA Facebook page by clicking here.
We'd also like to thank everyone who entered and made it a very difficult decision to pick a winner. Make sure you keep an eye out for our next JiGSAW cover competition later in the year.