Announcements and Updates
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COVID-19 Free Preschool Funding Program (Guidelines Announcement 21 April)
The NSW Department of Education has released guidelines and information on the funding initiative to support community and mobile preschools in NSW for up to six months during the COVID-19 crisis. You can read the guidelines here, and refer to this email from the Department for more information.
CCSA has been advocating for members with NSW Department of Education to implement this initiative and we have participated in the Ministerial reference group advising the Department on the scheme. The scheme is designed to work with JobKeeper and may expand the number of services who may now be eligible for that scheme.
The key conditions for eligibility for services is that you must:
- enrol in the JobKeeper program in the first instance (if you are eligible)
- remain open and available (unless on public health advice)
- provide at least 15 hours of free preschool to families
- retain staff where possible
- prioritise access for children of essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and existing enrolments
- provide suitable outreach (or distance education) to children who are enrolled but not physically attending
- complete the opt-in enrolment process through SmartyGrant (to be available soon).
Under the NSW program, the maximum additional State funding services will be eligible for will be 100% of your half year fee income, and the minimum additional funding will be 80% of their half year fee income, both based on data you provided in the August 2019 Census (with a 2% indexation rate applied).
Any amount of the State funding will will be reduced by the amount of JobKeeper that services receive. Where services do not meet the 30% downturn and are ineligible for JobKeeper the full Department of Education funding under that scheme will be applied.
Rules covering the operation of the JobKeeper Scheme (15th April Update)
Implementation Information from the ATO
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has now uploaded detailed information on the implementation of the scheme to the JobKeeper Payment page on their website.
The ATO website contains important information on:
• Eligible employers
• Eligible employees
• Amounts payable per month for eligible employees
• How to enrol and apply for the JobKeeper payment
• Paying your eligible employees
Some key dates include:
|Enrol online for the JobKeeper payment using the Business Portal, authenticating with MyGovID||from 20 April onwards|
|Receive JobKeeper employee nomination notices from eligible employees||by the end of April|
|Pay each eligible employee $1,500 for each JobKeeper fortnight in April||before the end of April|
|Online confirmation of eligible employees to the ATO||from 4 May onwards|
Please remember, the rules around JobKeeper may be complex and CCSA suggests you consider their impact on your service carefully and in detail. You may wish to obtain expert advice from a qualified professional about the particulars of your service.
Free Preschool for NSW (13th April Update)
Update from the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning (13th April Update)
The Department is continuing to work with the sector to finalise the implementation arrangements, however the following has been confirmed by the Minister:
Start Strong funded community preschools and mobile preschools on contracts will have the opportunity to opt in to receive top up payments to subsidise income that would otherwise have come from fees. Other income streams such as Start Strong funding, mobile preschool contract funding and payments under the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program will be taken into account as part of the opt-in process.
Services opting in will need to comply with a number of conditions:
- Families are not to be charged fees for 15 hours per week of preschool (voluntary contributions/fundraising is permitted).
- Services must retain their staff.
- Services must remain open and available unless on public health advice, for other health and safety reasons or where directed to close by the Regulatory Authority.
- Services must prioritise access for essential workers, vulnerable and disadvantaged children and those currently enrolled (including 3 and 4 year olds).
- Services must encourage children to remain enrolled even when not attending and provide outreach including ‘distance education’ to these children where possible.
$133 Million Support Package for Early Childhood Education and Care in NSW (9th April Announcement)
The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, announced that preschool will be free for all NSW children during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the NSW Government’s measures to support parents and workers. Under the funding package;
- $82 million will be made available to services that are ineligible for JobKeeper Payment (ie. local government operated services), and
- $51 million for preschools to waive charges to parents for 6 months.
The funding is conditional on preschools and council operated services remaining operating.
Press Release – Early childhood education and care relief package (2nd April Announcement)
Around one million families are set to receive free child care during the coronavirus pandemic under a plan from the Morrison Government that will help deliver hip pocket relief and help the early childhood education and care sector make it through to the other side of this crisis.
Under the plan, the Government will pay 50 per cent of the sector’s fee revenue up to the existing hourly rate cap based on a point in time before parents started withdrawing their children in large numbers, but only so long as services remain open and do not charge families for care. The funding will apply from 6 April based on the number of children who were in care during the fortnight leading into 2 March, whether or not they are attending services.
JobKeeper Payment (30th March Announcement)
On 30 March the Commonwealth Government released its Third Stimulus Package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The centrepiece is the Jobkeeper payment, a $130 billion measure over 6 months to provide wage subsidies to businesses, including not-for-profits, that are significantly affected by COVID-19.
Follow the links to:
Download an Information for Employers fact sheet
Download an Information for Employees fact sheet
Download a General information on JobKeeper fact sheet
Boosting Cash Flow for Employers and Support for Trainees (22nd March Announcement)
Key points are:
Boosting Cash Flow for Employers
- Not-for-profit entities, including charities, will be eligible for the Boosting Cash Flow for Employers. The measure is designed to support entities that retain employees during the current COVID-19 crisis.
- The measure provides up to $50,000 for the period March – June 2020, with a minimum of $10,000.
- If the entity continues to be active in the period July – October 2020, it will receive further credits and can receive up to a total of $100,000, with a minimum of $20,000.
- As the payments are made by the ATO as credits against activity statements, it is important that entities observe the lodgment schedule for their activity statements.
- You can find examples of payment here Economic Response to the Coronavirus Fact Sheet – Cash flow assistance for businesses.
Supporting Apprentices and Trainees
- Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of a trainee’s wage paid during the period 1 January to 30 September 2020, up to a maximum of $21,000.
- For further information on how to apply for the subsidy, including information on eligibility, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) provider.
Planning for impacts on your operations
There are many different ways your service could be affected by potential impacts of OVID-19, so it pays to “Think Ahead” by considering what you might need to have in place to continue to effectively manage your operations. We have compiled some examples to get you started:
- ensure your contact list for families is up to date
- ensure your staff contact list is up to date, including emergency contact details
- check the status of your casual pool
- consider adding elements to your health policy that cover this particular health alert
- determine how you will communicate information to families
- determine how you will respond to various scenarios
- consider whether essential functions can be performed off site, for example processing payroll
- check that employees’ leave accruals are up to date
- check your cash flow and financial status to ensure leave entitlements and other payments can be covered if necessary.
Things you can do NOW include:
- ensure your health and hygiene practices are maintained
- follow your policies and procedures and maintain the usual best practice approach across all of your services
- stay updated with health alerts and follow your health notification procedures
- apply a risk assessment process to any new scenarios and maintain regulations, compliance and common sense.
The Australian Government Department of Health is providing daily updates on the latest medical advice and official reports.
We recommend that you regularly refer to this health alert page daily to ensure you are up to date.
NSW Health is providing updates on the latest medical advice and official reports.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for schools and early childhood education and care services, students and parents.
Advice from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment can be found here.
Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions
Includes information about in-home care, rations, exclusions, fees and absences.
Community Child Care Fund Special Circumstances Grant Opportunity
Grants to support continuity of child care, in particular in disadvantaged or vulnerable communities, where service viability is affected by an unforeseen factor outside the control of the service.
Child Care Finder
Ensure that your vacancy and fee information is up-to-date in Child Care Finder as demand for childcare may increase.
Subscribe here to receive emails from the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for schools and early childhood education and care services, students and parents.
Advice from the NSW Department of Education can be found here.
- information sheet for parents and carers
- information sheet for educators and staff
- COVID-19 and excursions
- practicing good hygeine
- further support resources for services.
Department of Education March Roadshow Livestream
As per the National Law and Regulations governing all early childhood education and care services, you must report outbreaks of infectious disease to:
- Your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055
- The NSW Regulatory Authority – for reporting requirements visit the Notifications and Reporting page or call 1800 619 113
ATO and FINANCE
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
ATO support (for those affected by COVID-19)
The ATO will implement a series of administrative measures to assist Australians experiencing financial difficulty as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
ATO Information and Assistance
Information and assistance if you have been affected by COVID-19 outbreak
Other financial information and assistance.
Australian Government Business
Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses.
Cash Flow Assistance for Businesses
An Information sheet to help businesses to manage cashflow challenges and help businesses retain their employees.
COVID-19 Consumer and Business Rights
An overview of consumer rights from NSW Fair Trading
Links to Accounting Software Providers
See how to correctly set up JobKeeper payments in your payroll system. Correct reporting through Single Touch Payroll is a critical step to ensuring timely receipt of JobKeeper reimbursements.
PLEASE NOTE: We are providing these links as information only. Software and payroll processing and lodgement of ATO JobKeeper advice requires a BAS or tax agent authority.
Press Release Education Council – 27th March 2020 Link here
Working from Home
If your service closes or if an employee is unable to attend the workplace due to the impacts of COVID-19, there may be an opportunity for some employees to work from home. Consider the following:
- Suitability of work requiring to be done. You must ensure that the work you are requiring the employee to be done is appropriate for the employee’s classification.
- A working from home policy
- A working from home agreement to vary an employee’s location and/or hours of work
- A check list outlining the requirements around equipment/environment etc