COVID-19: ECEC Relief Package FAQs

COVID-19: Understanding the Business Continuity Payment

IMPORTANT: Updated Information
Information impacting childcare is being updated on a frequent basis. You can track the latest information here- COVID-19 Childcare Updates.

Following are the various questions that were asked during the COVID-19: Special Webinar on 07 April, 2020. 

What care types are covered?

If you were receiving CCS previous to April 6 you will be eligible to receive BCP. This includes LDC, OSHC, VAC. If you have concerns about your specific care type please reach out to the government.

What happens with new enrolments? What happens when parents wish to increase of days? Casuals want full-time care? 

You are under no obligation to take new families if you cannot take them, or to increase days or bookings. Children must have CWA or other enrolment. They must go through the standard enrolment process you would normally follow.

There was a mention that parents will be back paid from March, is this true if so how will this be processed? 

Parents won’t be paid at all, and it is a business decision for the centre if they wish to not charge fees. In Xplor you can do this via balance adjustment through the system for those families you wish to apply this to. Keep in mind normal CCS will be paid for that period, not BCP.

What happens if part time staff don’t want to work, therefore we are short of staff and end up with making part time staff full time in order to cover ratios?

The requirements for ratios still apply as do all other requirements. You are responsible for managing your staff to ensure compliance, and this may include changing their hours.

What if the 50% payment amount is not enough? How do we cover the gap?

There will be a form for you to apply for further funding on the government’s website soon. If you’re a service who has a lot of families accessing ACCS or are low income, reach out and make your needs known to CCS Helpdesk and get assistance.

What criteria must families meet?

Children must meet Immunisation requirements. The government has stated they must meet “all other requirements”. We (Xplor) have raised this with the government to define these requirements further. 

Is there an automated way to waive March 23 to April 5 fees?

This can be manually undertaken at the discretion of services. Xplor have provided a Gap Fee report available from the dashboard to assist you. Services are under no obligation to waive fees. 

Can you bill for 2 weeks in advance towards the end of June to get ready for new financial year?

You’ll have to wait for the government to clarify as we get closer if this will be continued or if June 28 will be the last day of free care. If there’s no extension or changes to this, you’ll be able to bill in your CCS platform as normal. Xplor’s solution allows you to continue billing as normal from that day forward, including if you billed in advance.

Other care types e.g. FDC, Limited hours type 1 and 2, in home care

If you were receiving CCS previously you should be receiving the BCP. If you have questions about your specific service or your specific scenario please contact the government

On the question of parents accessing Additional days because it’s free”

Services are under no obligation to accept new families or give additional days of care. The care is free but you are still free to operate as you see fit in regards to enrolments and session bookings.

When does BCP start coming through?

Payments are being applied from April 6. You should see them coming through your accounts shortly but this is entirely up to the government processing.

For families that had been paying full fee (non CCS eligible) will they also be entitled to BCP? 

BCP payments are not applied to families. They are a flat amount paid directly to the childcare service. The amount has been determined by a government calculation taking into account fee revenue for a normal care period. Further details about the calculation are currently unavailable.

Who gets free childcare – When we receive the new payment, will we receive a reconciliation that tells us which children and how many days it was in respect of?

The government is yet to announce a decision regarding reconciliation. Free childcare is accessible by all families, but the government has requested services prioritise families who are more in need due to not being able to offer care for their children at home.

If you wish to reject payments you can do so via the Scheduled Payments section.

The Government FAQ’s seem to indicate we can waive the gap fee (from 23/3/20- 5/4/20) only for children who were absent from care.

Are absences still counted?

No, there are no submissions for this period and therefore no absence counting. The 62 absences limit applies to the period prior to April 6th.

If we are going to re-submit a submission (CCS), will this be actioned by the government?

You cannot submit a session report during this period. The government will allow submissions to flow as normal post June 28, pending any changes. During that time you will be able to update your session reports if you need.

Is the Gap fee report calculated on ‘estimated ccs’ or does it only show paid/processed CCS?

This report will show CCS paid, as the period for all CCS payments has now passed and payments have been processed. If there are outstanding estimates that have not yet been paid by the government they will be expired off the statement as per normal two weeks following the end of the week in question.

What about additional fees such as late, bonds and other charges? Can these still be added on as an extra charge?

The government is still yet to give a direction on this. Please stay up to date with the government FAQ page.

How is ISS going to be managed?

The government has yet to answer how ISS will be managed going forward. To learn more about the government’s decisions around this please stay updated with their FAQ document. We will also keep our services up to date.

What should we submit so the department knows who is in care and enrollment is still active?

There is no need to do anything with your enrolments The government has refreshed each CCS enrolment to ensure that they stay active until the end of June. Do not end any CCS enrolments, this is not necessary.

Enrolling new families during this time? Usually, we would we charge two weeks in advance, is this possible? Any changes onto how we add new families?

You cannot charge families for care during this time. There is no other change to the enrolment process, including the CCS enrolment process.

We have chosen to close our childcare voluntarily. Will the BCP payment still come to us when we open back up?

You will need to contact the government directly to discuss specifics of your service

Do parents pay full fees if a child has exhausted the 62 absences, but are not sending the child to the childcare but holding our place?

Parents should not pay any fees for childcare bookings during the period of April 6 to June 28.

Do we have to record absences in our third party software for compliance?

Absences in Xplor will continue to be recorded if an attendance is not recorded. If you wish to attribute absence reasons you are free to do so, but the submission of this data will not occur to the government due to their blocking of all CCS submissions.

What happens if you opt out of BCP?

If you choose to opt out of BCP you will be able to charge families any fees you see fit. You will not, however, receive the Business Continuity Payment, CCS or ACCS for the period of April 6 to June 28. You will continue to operate as normal for all other compliance requirements.

Are CWA still completed?

Yes, you are still required to issue CWAs, as the submission of new CWAs has not been blocked by the government and is still part of your obligations as a service.

Is the ECEC relief package for OSHC before and after school based on permanent numbers or the actual numbers that attend?

The payment amount was calculated by the government using fee revenue for the last two weeks of February. 

What happens if we are opening a new service during this period?

You will need to speak directly to the government about your specific requirements and what funding you may be eligible for.

How do we record attendances?

Continue to mark your attendances as you normally would. This will ensure you are collecting the correct information for compliance purposes.

Xplor-specific 

How do we manage our fees in Xplor now?

All your fees should remain as normal in Xplor. Do not delete or alter your fees. We have made changes to the accounting system to remove fees for parents before they reach the statement for the period of April 6 to June 28. This is automated and requires no action from services. 

What is Xplor doing about our direct debit payments?

Xplor will not adjust direct debit payments. These payments are yours to manage and adjust as you need. In most cases, debt is from previous weeks that are not covered by the government’s ruling and you are able to collect these fees as normal.

Can we see anywhere in Xplor what our weekly CCS payments will be so we can budget and staff accordingly?

BCP payments will appear in PRODA, your bank account and the CCS Payments report in Xplor.


Further information

  • Visit the COVID-19: Childcare Resources for latest news updates, understanding your responsibilities are to parents & children during the COVID-19 pandemic, when you should close your service, and how to get financial advice & assistance, and other key childcare-related information. 
  • Please visit the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Frequently Asked Questions for more information for providers and services and Coronavirus (COVID-19) for the latest education and training sector fact sheets.
  • The CCS Helpdesk is available to assist with information for services to help them manage the impacts on their business. Please email the CCS Helpdesk on [email protected], send in your query via an online form or call 1300 667 276 between 9.00 am — 5.00 pm (AEDST), Monday to Friday. 

Please make sure that if you are a child care provider or service you have subscribed to receive communications from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.