Payment Transition Tips as Vacation Care Services Prepare for Winter Vacation

A number of out of school day care services that run “vacation-only care” programs have been baffled by the timing of transitional payment terms, which for some states begin in the middle of the winter school vacation, which means families will have one week of free care and one week of CCS funded care.

The information and advice given below is specific to services which only offer vacation care. Although the information and advice provided is consistent with all Child care subsidy (SCC), specific details are given for services offering vacation care only.

Overview

The Early childhood education and care package (Relief package) was extended until July 12, 2020, after which the CCS and Additional subsidy for childcare (ACCS) will resume with a series of new measures to support the sector and its families during the transition, including a relaxed activity test for families and a new Transition payment for providers.

From July 13, 2020, providers will once again receive CCS payments on behalf of families, and parents resume their co-contribution to childcare costs.

In addition to the CCS, the government will provide a bridging payment to all approved vendors who have already received CCS and to new vendors who have been approved during the relief program period. The same provisions will apply to private services, providers operated by state, territorial and local governments, and non-profit providers.

In practice, this means that those currently eligible and receiving the relief package payment will receive a bridging payment offer in the first place. Transition payments represent up to 25% of vendor fee revenue or the existing hourly rate cap, whichever is lower, during the relevant reporting period.

Action required by suppliers

Recognizing the unique situation of vacation services, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the department) will work directly with vacation service providers only to manage the process, says a departmental fact sheet. .

Holiday service providers will receive an email offering them a grant from the Australian government for a bridging payment for holiday periods between July 13 and September 27, 2020. The department has an online process in place, using DocuSign, for providers to review and agree to. offer. The email will explain how to review and sign the offer.

Once the grant agreement is signed and returned, the transition payments will be made to the bank account currently designated for the service of a provider in the Child Care Grant System (CCSS). Suppliers are responsible for ensuring that their bank details in the CCSS are correct.

Eligibility

To receive and maintain the transition payment, suppliers must offer a guarantee of employment by continuing to employ employees during the transition period who were working or being paid. JobKeeper in their fortnight of relevant employment guarantee, and cap the costs at the level of the reference period of the relevant relief allowance.

Suppliers should also not claim JobKeeper for ineligible employees. JobKeeper will cease from July 20, 2020 for employees and participating companies of a CCS approved provider and childcare service.

Costs

A condition for receiving the transition payment is that providers must maintain the same fees charged during the relevant reference period, which for most holiday-only care providers will be the Easter / April holiday.

The intention of the restriction, the ministry said, is to support both the sustainability of child care services and to help families access quality child care without the burden of any fee increases. by increasing their labor market participation activities after the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, providers receiving the bridging payment should not change their service offering or increase or add new administrative fees, the ministry said.

Employee protections

During the transition period (from July 13, 2020 to September 27, 2020), employers must continue to employ employees who were working or were paid JobKeeper during the fortnight of the job guarantee (remembering that for most beneficiaries of holiday services only, this will be the Easter / April holidays).

The job guarantee includes all employees who have worked hours in the job guarantee fortnight more all JobKeeper beneficiaries who have not worked during this fortnight.

All these employees must continue to be employed, including being offered work during the transition period from July 13 to September 27, 2020. The Job Guarantee does not include subcontractors and does not include employees in long-term leave.

This includes employees on short-term leave, such as annual leave and sick leave. Providers must take all reasonable and proportionate measures to continue to employ the staff concerned and to offer them work.

Compliance

The department will monitor compliance with the conditions, including responding to complaints filed with the whistleblower line and sharing data with other government agencies, a statement said. The ministry can ask service providers at any time to provide supporting documents demonstrating that they meet their conditions.

Since JobKeeper payments for ECEC services receiving the relief package will cease from July 20, providers should not continue to claim JobKeeper for employees who are not eligible. Suppliers will not be able to recover JobKeeper payments made to employees after this date.

The Department will also take compliance and assurance actions with respect to the transitional arrangements, in collaboration with partner organizations, including the ATO.

The tax commissioner, a ministerial statement read, can compel an entity which made a false declaration or which committed fraud to refund the amount. This liability is in addition to the significant criminal or administrative penalties that exist in the event of false declarations and fraud.

JobKeeper Payment obtained by fraud or inaccuracy will be recovered from violators even when payment has passed through entities not involved in the fraud. In addition, penalties under the Family Assistance Act, including revocation of provider approval, may apply.

Transition deadlines

The fortnight from July 6 to 19 is the last fortnight during which the employees of a CCS approved service and economic actors (for example independent traders) operating a childcare service are eligible for JobKeeper.

For the fortnight from July 20 to August 2, employers are no longer required to meet the salary condition (i.e. $ 1,500 per fortnight) for employees.

Employers must file the monthly JobKeeper Business declaration for the July fortnights (June 22 – July 5 and July 6 – 19) between August 1 and August 14. Employees already benefiting from JobKeeper will continue to be eligible for the purposes of submitting this declaration. Payments must be made to employers by the ATO approximately four working days after reporting.

Between September 1 and September 14, employers must file the monthly JobKeeper company declaration for the fortnights of August (July 20 to August 2, August 3 to 16 and August 17 to 30). This declaration must not include all employees who will not be eligible for JobKeeper.

The ATO may also require suppliers to provide additional information regarding employees and JobKeeper. More information will soon be available on the ATO website.

This information was last updated on June 17, 2020. Please check back regularly dese.gov.au/covid19/childcare to make sure you are using the latest version of this information.


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Elaine R. Knight

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