Parents and childcare workers in Victoria have been thrown a lifeline by the Australian Government, with centres, positions and jobs to be guaranteed during the state’s six-week Stage Four lockdown.
Childcare centres will be paid to remain open and keep staff employed, and the Government will pay subsidies so children can be kept at home without losing their place, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan confirmed.
In practice, the “triple guarantee” will see parents get an increased number of allowable absences, meaning they won’t have to pay for 30 extra days while their children are kept at home.
Early childhood educators will also get an employment guarantee throughout the lockdown, and childcare operators will get a revenue guarantee of 80 to 85 per cent of their pre-Covid income.
“Our aim in announcing this package today is to ensure that we keep providers open in Melbourne and across rural and regional Victoria,” Tehan said.
“We want those parents who have to work to be able to get care for their children but also we want to make sure that our providers remain viable and our early childhood educators continue to get the employment guarantee that we've been providing them since we put the transition arrangements in place.”
Tehan urged parents to keep their children enrolled in childcare.
“It won't cost you anything to do so,” he said.
“But it means, as we come out of this pandemic, those positions will be there for you at your child care centre, so once you go back to work, the positions there, it's available to you and it means it will be much more seamless for you to be able to get back to work once we've got through this pandemic.”
The government’s national free childcare scheme ended 12 July this year, with the subsidy returning to normal on 13 July.
The announcement follows more support for Victorian workers, who can now access a fortnightly $1,500 disaster payment should they be required to self-isolate for 14 days and do not have access to sick leave.
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