8 May 2020

ATO release discretionary guidance and application for JobKeeper

After ongoing discussions between FDCA and the ATO, we now have confirmation of the discretionary process that may be applied by the ATO for applications for JobKeeper as a sole trader. Click here for more information.

If educators meet all JobKeeper eligibility requirements, other than the requirement provide notice to the Commissioner of income or taxable sales by 12 March 2020, they should consider applying to the Commissioner to exercise his discretion to grant further time. The ATO have the discretion to give further time, but only in limited circumstances, including if you:

  • did not have a requirement to lodge your 2018–19 return until after 12 March 2020, for example if your business is included in a registered agent’s lodgment program where the lodgment due date is after 12 March 2020
  • have deferred your lodgement under an extension of lodgement date the ATO initiated, for example if your business has an automatic ATO lodgement deferral in place. This may be due to such circumstances as being affected by the Australian bushfires in late 2019 and/or you are not registered or required to be registered for GST, so will not have lodged a BAS before 12 March 2020.

If this applies to you, please click here and take the following steps:

  1. Fill in your details in Section A.
  2. In Section C, tick the second box which states "The entity included an amount, related to it carrying on a business, in its assessable income for the 2018–19 income year and the Commissioner had notice of that on or before 12 March 2020."
  3. In Section D, you must outline your circumstances and provide details for the basis of the request for the Commissioner to exercise his discretion.

Family day care and COVID-19: Current state of play

Last week the Australian Government announced a positive outcome for family day care with the expansion of the Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment eligibility criteria to account for many of the family day care educators and services currently ineligible for JobKeeper payments.

As one of the two key pillars of the Relief Package, ineligibility for JobKeeper in any instance for family day care represented a catastrophic failing of the system. For those who were facing this prospect, this outcome cannot be understated.

These eligibility amendments are a direct result of weeks of Family Day Care Australia's (FDCA) direct engagement with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the Australian Tax Office and the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, and through specific recommendations made to the Minister and our submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19.

Under these amendments, family day care services with current (sole trader) educators who are not eligible for the JobKeeper Payment can also now apply for the Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payment using the current application form, as long as their educators apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN) by 1 June 2020.

Additionally, family day care services who are part of larger charities and/or not-for-profit organisations that are ineligible for the JobKeeper Payment may receive an increase to the base payment under the Relief Package.

Of course there is still work to be done. We know that the funding model remains flawed for many educators and services; failing to account for the care that you continue to deliver or provide you with the capacity to build your business and support more children and families.

Last week FDCA sent a survey to all services regarding applications for supplementary funding. From the outset the supplementary payment has been presented as the solution to the many and varied circumstances where the funding model may fall short for family day care. We have requested this information in order to establish whether the funding mechanism is adequately fulfilling its intended purpose and to establish the evidence base for our ongoing representation to the Department and the Minister on your behalf.

However, as social distancing measures start to relax, it is crucial that we also turn our minds to transitioning out of the emergency funding system imposed upon us and back into the Child Care Subsidy System. In doing so, we need to be mindful of the fact that the landscape as we knew it pre COVID-19 may not be immediately reflected in the post COVID-19 world.

As we seek to reactivate the economy, family day care will have a vital role to play. However, without a coherent and informed transitional model, sector viability may again be exposed. Through consultation and establishment of a strong evidence base on the best way forward for family day care, together we can ensure that any more unintended consequences on your businesses are minimised and that the rebuilding effort is not compromised.

FDCA last week met with the FDCA COVID-19 Advisory Committee in relation to the matters outlined above which will inform our way forward. Additionally, we are meeting with the Department tomorrow through both the national Early Childhood Education and Care Reference Group (ECECRG) and a specific consultation focussed on family day care and the forthcoming transition, which will include representatives from the sector from across the country. We will keep members informed of the outcomes of these consultations as soon as practicable.

Thank you to all those members that continue to assist in informing our shared efforts through constructive information sharing. We will continue to consult the membership and the FDCA COVID-19 Advisory Committee throughout, and beyond, the COVID-19 pandemic.

New FDCA Member Zone is now live

Earlier today, you would have received a bulletin announcing the launch of the new FDCA Member Zone. Exclusively available to FDCA Members, the FDCA Member Zone is your new home for a range of members-only tools, resources and content.

The launch of the FDCA Member Zone is part of our continued commitment to providing members with access to high quality resources and tools that support members in the delivery of high quality family day care.

The new FDCA Member Zone houses a range of members-only resources, tools and information that can assist both in the day-to-day running of your family day care business and also your family day care practice. At the click of a button you will be able to access:

  • FDCA's Professional Learning Portal which provides you with self-guided, self-paced tools and resources that can be delivered how and when it suits you; saving you time and money.
  • Our new and improved Family Day Care Locator. You'll be able to manage your listing, update vacancy details, customise your business name and upload a photo to help your listing stand out from the crowd. You will also receive email notification when you get new care enquiries that can then be easily accessed inside your Member Zone.
  • The Market My Business Hub that can assist you in marketing and promoting your business through free, customised digital marketing material such as brochures, posters, flyers and graphics. You can even request a copy of our family day care television commercials so that you can share them on your own networks.
  • Insurance Documentation and be able to submit online incident reports with the click of a button.
  • A wide range of resources and factsheets, including a back catalogue of FCDA's popular NQF Checkpoint Series.
  • The latest editions of JiGSAW Magazine and our Family Day Care Matters Newsletter.

All you need to do to access your FDCA Member is follow these five simple steps:

  1. Click here to activate your free account (for the best experience, use the latest Chrome browser)
  2. Enter your FDCA registered email address
  3. An email will then be sent to your email address, click on the 'create password' button
  4. Create and confirm your password
  5. Click here to log in and enter your FDCA Member Zone

You can also access your FDCA Member Zone by clicking 'Member Login' on the FDCA website.

The autumn 2020 edition of JiGSAW magazine is now available

The autumn 2020 edition of JiGSAW magazine is now available to view and download for FDCA members. In this edition of JiGSAW we provide an update on our Sector Viability Strategy, along with a summary of FDCA's recent Pre-Budget Submission to the Commonwealth Government.

You'll hear from all of our regular contributors and have the opportunity to win prizes in our Fun with FDCA section. We also share several inspiring stories of selflessness and outstanding achievement, including:

  • Isle of Man community lends a helping hand – Read about the cross-continental relationship that resulted in over $12,000 being raised for the recent bushfire emergency
  • A dream fulfilled – Family Day Care South Cairns share their story about establishing their very own Family Day Care Community Kindergarten.
  • Anne retires after 50 years in childcare – We bring you the story of Anne Usmar, the educator who recently retired after 50 years service in the child care sector.

Due to third party logistical and distribution issues and delays caused by the COVID-19 crisis we have made the decision to distribute the 93rd edition of JiGSAW in a digital only format; however we look forward to sending hard copies of future editions of the magazine to our members moving forward.

To view the autumn edition of JiGSAW, click here.

New DESE COVID-19 Information Session

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has recorded a new information session for providers and services to discuss key updates to the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package.

The session covers:

  • expansion of the Exceptional Circumstance Supplementary Payments and tips for completing the application
  • increased access to the JobKeeper Payment
  • maximising & prioritising care
  • the Four Week review of the Relief Package.

Please note the session was not streamed live. To view the session, click here.

FDCA COVID-19 information hub

To help members stay up to date with the latest information on the COVID-19 crisis we have developed a COVID-19 information hub with information specific to family day care educators and services.

The hub contains information, support links and resources available to family day care educators and services during the COVID-19 crisis.

The hub includes:

  • frequently asked questions, including general FAQ’s and FAQ’s specific to educators, services and relating to the National Law;
  • a list of key advocacy points that FDCA has raised with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment;
  • links to all FDCA bulletins sent to members regarding COVID-19, and;
  • additional links and resources relating to COVID-19.

We will continue to update these pages as new information comes to hand. Please be aware that the situation continues to evolve rapidly.

To view the FDCA COVID-19 information hub, click here.