Australian Government

Navigating the End of COVID-19 Measures in Australian Childcare

The Australian Government has announced that the COVID-19 support measures for families and early childhood education and care services will conclude as scheduled on 30 June 2023​1​. As we navigate this transition, it’s crucial for childcare providers to understand the implications and prepare for the post-support period. This article will explore the forthcoming changes and discuss how Early Learning Management (ELM) can assist childcare centres with regulatory and compliance issues.

The Ending of COVID-19 Measures in Australian Childcare

Introduced to help families and childcare providers during the pandemic, the government’s COVID-19 measures have provided essential support over the past few years. With these measures set to end, many in the sector may feel uncertain about the future. However, this transition also provides an opportunity to reassess and improve business operations, ensuring sustainability in the long term.

Absences

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government provided 10 extra allowable absences in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 financial years. However, for the 2023-24 financial year, all children will return to the standard number of 42 allowable absences. Families can use allowable absences to receive CCS when their child is absent from care for any reason. Once the 42 allowable absence days have been used, families can access additional absences under certain circumstances.

Notably, families can continue to use evidence of a positive COVID-19 test result from a government agency or pathology service to access additional absences beyond the standard 42 days.

Gap Fees

During the COVID-19 pandemic, child care services were allowed to waive the gap fee if a child was unable to attend care for one of the following reasons:

  1. The child, or a member of their immediate household, has tested positive with COVID-19 in the last 7 days.
  2. The child is at a higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19.
  3. The service, or a room at the service, is closed due to COVID-19.

However, this provision will end on 30 June 2023. From 1 July 2023, services must charge the gap fee in all the above circumstances​1​.

Navigating the Transition

As the COVID-19 measures end, childcare providers will need to revisit their operational strategies and financial planning. Reassessing enrolment procedures, staffing requirements, and hygiene protocols will be paramount. It is also a good time to engage with families to understand their needs and concerns in the post-support period, and to communicate any changes in services or fees clearly and promptly.

How Early Learning Management Can Assist

Navigating regulatory and compliance changes can be a daunting task. That’s where Early Learning Management comes in. ELM has a proud history of providing comprehensive Childcare Centre Management solutions for over 30 years, easing the burden of day-to-day operational activities​2​.

ELM’s expert team can help maintain compliance and governance in the childcare sector, which can be challenging especially during this transition period. They offer extensive services for Compliance and Governance in Childcare, including assistance with assessments and ratings, and ensuring compliance with the National Quality Framework and Child Care Subsidy requirements​2​.

Financial management is a critical part of running a successful childcare centre. ELM offers specialised Childcare Financial & Payroll Services, including access to industry-specific employment relations, BAS calculations and lodgement, and a Xero subscription. These services enable childcare providers to focus on other aspects of their business, such as providing quality care and education​2​.

Staying informed and up-to-date is crucial during this transition. ELM offers comprehensive Childcare Reporting Services, including budget tracking, key performance indicator (KPI) review and advisory, and monthly and weekly electronic/email reporting. With these services, childcare providers can be confident about where their business stands at all times​2​.

Communication is key in this period of change. ELM offers Communication and Childcare services, supporting your advertising and marketing plan, and facilitating unlimited email and phone communication and Zoom meetings. They are committed to keeping the lines of communication open, providing support when you need it most​2​.

In conclusion, the end of COVID-19 measures is a significant milestone for Australian childcare providers. It’s a time for reflection, reassessment, and reinvention. With expert assistance from Early Learning Management, childcare centres can navigate this transition smoothly and continue to provide quality services to Australian families. Contact Early Learning Management today to learn more about their Childcare Management services and how they can help your business grow

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