Thousands of child care providers and after-school services will be eligible for new fortnightly payments to assist with the financial strain of being in a COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The government today announced that child care services who are in a Commonwealth-declared hotspot will be eligible for payments of 25 per cent of their pre-lockdown revenue.
Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services will be eligible for payments of 40 per cent.
The payments are expected to be available to around 3600 services in Greater Sydney, 900 after-school services in Melbourne and almost 300 services in the ACT.
These providers and services will see the payments in their accounts in around two weeks.
Providers will only become eligible for the payments seven days after a hotspot has been declared, and where states have directed families to keep children at home.
Where kids are still allowed to attend, the supports will kick in four weeks after the hotspot declaration.
The new payments will immediately benefit child care services in affected areas of Sydney and the ACT and OSHC services in Metropolitan Melbourne.
All other services in Metropolitan Melbourne, regional Victoria and regional NSW will become eligible after seven days of lockdown, and payments will be backdated to today.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the payments are designed to stop child care providers from going into administration during extended lockdowns.
"The child care and early education sector is critically important for Australian families and our economy, and these payments will help keep services open and staff employed," Mr Morrison said.
"The sector has been doing an incredible job to provide essential care for Australian kids during the pandemic and we are backing them in while attendance rates are down.
"These payments will ensure our high quality child care and early education centres are there on the other side of these lockdowns."
Child care COVID-19 payments: Eligibility list
– Providers and services must be expecting attendance below 50 per cent
– Providers must waive gap fees for families whose children are not attending
– Providers must maintain staffing levels
– Providers must agree to a "fee freeze" for the duration of the monetary support
– Providers must not be accessing other Commonwealth Government funded supports