he Essential Guide to Collecting Gap Fees Electronically in the Australian Childcare Sector

The Essential Guide to Collecting Gap Fees Electronically

Collecting gap fees electronically is a pivotal part of the Australian childcare system. As providers, it’s essential to take all reasonable steps to comply with the Family Assistance Law. This article delves into understanding this obligation, offering guidance and insights into practical methods of managing gap fees.

About the Obligation to Collect Gap Fees

The Family Assistance Law requires providers to collect gap fees electronically. This requirement applies to families who get Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and helps protect CCS against mistakes and fraud. By adhering to this regulation, providers ensure they receive a key part of their income.

What is a Gap Fee?

A gap fee is a co-contribution that families who receive CCS must pay towards their early childhood education and care fees. It is typically paid using electronic funds transfer (EFT).

Taking All Reasonable Steps to Collect Gap Fees

1. Providing Clear Advice and Support to Families

  • Regular communication about fee amounts, EFT options, and payment status.
  • Support for families who need help with EFT payments or financial support options.

2. Offering a Range of EFT Payment Options

  • Options that provide flexibility, including methods similar to cash.
  • Business.gov.au has guidance on EFT payment methods, and third-party software providers can offer additional options.

3. Updating Policies and Monitoring Payments

  • Incorporating EFT information into policies and enrolment forms.
  • Accurate monitoring of fees due, paid, and owing with the use of good systems and trained staff.
  • Reducing risks through spot checks, independent audits, and clear governance.

4. Considering Other Safeguards

  • Encourage timely payment by requiring bonds or imposing late payment fees.
  • Planning for debt management through timely follow-ups, payment plans, and potential debt collection.

Special Considerations

1. When a Family Does Not Want to Use EFT

  • Providers may apply for an EFT exception, charge full fees, or refuse care.

2. When an Educator Collects Fees on Your Behalf

  • Still, providers’ responsibility is to ensure the gap fee is collected using EFT.
  • Adequate oversight and compliance practices, such as audits and regular reports.

3. When an EFT Exception Applies

  • Providers must take all reasonable steps to collect the gap fee in cash, with appropriate policies and procedures in place.


The collection of gap fees electronically is an essential aspect of the Australian childcare sector. By understanding and complying with the obligations set forth in Family Assistance Law, providers not only maintain the integrity of their financial systems, but also foster trust and transparency with families. By offering a range of EFT options, clearly communicating with families, and carefully monitoring payments, providers can create a seamless and responsible process that benefits both the provider and the families they serve.

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