Extension of Schedule I - Clerks-Private Sector Award 2020 (23rd December 2020)
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has further extended the operation of Schedule I – Award Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic of the Clerks – Private Sector Award 2020 until 30 June 2021. It was previously to cease operation on 29 March 2021.
The updated wording of Schedule I can be found in FWC Determination PR725755. Key changes include:
- Extension of the date of operation until 30 June 2021
- Removal of the requirement on an employer to advise every affected employee in writing each time it makes any direction, request or agreement under Schedule I that the employer consents to a dispute about the direction, request or agreement being settled by the FWC through arbitration. Instead, there will be a standing requirement under Schedule I that the employer provides that consent. The purpose of this change is to reduce the administrative load on employers.
- A previous clause dealing with ordinary hours of work for employees working from home has been replaced by a new clause dealing with remote working arrangements:
- Remote work is defined as work undertaken by an employee from their home or any other location of their choosing that is not the premises of their employer.
- The extended spread of ordinary hours for remote work continues (6am – 10pm Mon – Fri, 7am – 12:30pm Sat).
- Employees may elect to not work ordinary hours continuously.
- Flexible starting and finishing times
- Working non-consecutive hours
- Rest breaks
- Other measures continue:
- Agreed temporary reduction in ordinary hours (at least 75% of former hours)
- Accruals on any agreed temporary reduction in ordinary hours to continue at 100%
- Entitlement to secondary employment
- Voting arrangements for temporary reduction in ordinary hours
- Taking of annual leave, including at up to twice the length of time at a proportionately reduced rate of pay.
Schedule X of the Award, dealing with Unpaid Pandemic Leave, continues unchanged until 30 June 2020.
Managing confirmed cases of COVID-19 (25th September 2020)
The NSW Department of Education has recently developed this flowchart for the sector to support services with the management of confirmed COVID-19 cases within ECEC services.
The flowchart outlines the steps approved providers and services should follow if a confirmed case is identified as well as some general health advice.
Please note that these are guidelines only and services are expected to develop their COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy based on their specific circumstances.
JobKeeper August Monthly Declarations (31st August 2020)
The JobKeeper monthly declaration for August 2020 is due to be submitted during the period 1 – 14 September 2020.
There are two main differences to previous monthly declarations:
- The August declaration will cover three fortnights instead of two (JobKeeper Fortnights 9, 10 and 11)
- The August declaration will be the first in which newly eligible employees as at 1 July 2020 can be claimed. However, they can only be claimed for fortnights 10 and 11.
More information is available on the ATO website here.
Extension of Free Preschool Program (19th August Announcement)
CCSA welcomes the announcement today by the NSW Government of an extension of the COVID-19 free preschool funding program for community and mobile preschools to the end of Term 4.
Start Strong funded community preschools and mobile preschools on contracts are eligible to opt in to receive funding under this program. The program is designed to allow those services to provide fee relief and maintain staffing levels. Services will be contacted directly by the Department of Education with information on how to opt in and access payments for Term 4.
The program guidelines are available here. Please note that the guidelines have yet to be updated to include details of today’s announcement.
The joint ministerial media release between the Treasurer, the Hon Dominic Perrottet and the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, the Hon Sarah Mitchell can be accessed here.
Employment Guarantee Rules (12th August)
As a condition of receiving Transition Support payments from the Federal Government, service providers are required to continue to maintain employment levels at their service. As the Transition Payment is paid in lieu of JobKeeper Payment it should be used to support educators and employees and should be passed on through wages and payments. The Department of Education, Skills and Employment rules state that:
- You cannot terminate the employment of an employee engaged during the pre-transition fortnight without reasonable justification.
- You cannot terminate an employee due to redundancy, including for business restructuring or sale. If any business restructuring or sale during the Transition Period will involve an existing employee to lose their job, you or any new provider will cease to be eligible for Transition Payments.
- If you have permanent staff and you stand them down without pay, this is a breach of the Employment Guarantee.
Services which do not fulfil the conditions of the Transition Payment will be investigated and may be required to repay Transition Payments and may lose access to future payments. You can read more here.
JobKeeper Changes (7th August Announcement)
On 21 July, the Government announced it is extending the JobKeeper Payment until 28 March 2021 and is targeting support to those businesses and not-for-profits which continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.
From 28 September 2020, eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment will be based on actual turnover in the relevant periods, the payment will be stepped down and paid at two rates.
Further changes were announced on 7 August 2020 to adjust the reference date for employee eligibility and make it easier for organisations to qualify for the JobKeeper Payment extension from 28 September 2020.
From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim JobKeeper Payment will be required to re-assess their eligibility for the JobKeeper extension with reference to their actual turnover in the September quarter 2020. Businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in this quarter to be eligible for JobKeeper from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021.
Businesses and not-for-profits will need to further reassess their eligibility in January 2021 for the period from 4 January to 28 March 2021. Businesses and not-for-profits will need to demonstrate that they have met the relevant decline in turnover test in the December quarter 2020 to remain eligible for the March quarter 2021.
To be eligible for JobKeeper Payments under the extension, businesses and not-for-profits will still need to demonstrate that they have experienced a decline in turnover of:
- 50 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of more than $1 billion
- 30 per cent for those with an aggregated turnover of $1 billion or less; or
- 15 per cent for Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission-registered charities (excluding schools and universities).
If a business or not-for-profit does not meet the turnover test for the extension period, this does not affect their eligibility prior to 28 September 2020.
The JobKeeper Payment will continue to remain open to new recipients, provided they meet the eligibility requirements and the turnover tests that apply during the relevant JobKeeper Payment period
Support Plan for Victorian Childcare (5th August Announcement)
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has announced targeted support for the Victorian childcare sector, aiming to keep services open and available for parents.
Parents have an extra 30 days of allowable absences for their enrolled children, and services have to remain available for parents who need them to go to work during the current stage 4 lockdown.
Additional funding is also available.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for Victorians (4th August Announcement)
In response to the Victorian Government announcing Stage 4 restrictions for workplaces, the Federal Government has announced a $1,500 a fortnight pandemic leave disaster payment for Victorians who are not on JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments.
The payment will be made available to those that have to self-isolate for 14 days and and either have used up or are not entitled to sick leave.
The Victorian Government also offers a $300 payment for people to isolate while awaiting a test result.
Changes to JobKeeper (21st July Announcement)
The Prime Minister and Treasurer announced on 21 July 20 that the Government is extending to the JobKeeper program until 28 March 2021. While these changes will require legislation to be implemented, the following details have been announced:
- The current arrangements for JobKeeper will remain in place until the previously advised date of 27 September 2020. Businesses and not-for-profits that are currently eligible for JobKeeper payments will continue to be so until then, without needing to meet any further decline in turnover tests. The exclusion from JobKeeper eligibility of employees delivering CCS services will continue. The payment rate will continue to be $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee.
- From 28 September 2020, businesses and not-for-profits seeking to claim JobKeeper will be required to demonstrate that they have suffered on ongoing significant decline in turnover using actual GST turnover, rather than projected GST turnover. This will involve demonstrating the required decline in turnover for each of the preceding quarters.
- The decline in turnover test will remain the same (i.e. 50% decline for businesses with turnover exceeding $1 billion, 30% decline for businesses with turnover of $1 billion or less including schools and preschools, 15% decline for ACNC-registered charities excluding schools and preschools).
- For the first extension period from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper payment rates will be:
- $1,200 per fortnight for eligible employees who in the four weeks of pay periods before 1 March 2020 were working in the business for 20 hours or more a week on average
- $750 per fortnight for other eligible employees
- For the second extension period from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the rates will reduce to $1,000 and $650 per fortnight respectively.
- The JobKeeper payment remains open to new entrants provided they meet the existing eligibility requirements and the additional turnover tests during the extension period.
COVID-19 Free Preschool Funding (16th July Update)
The Department of Education has emailed all community preschools, including mobile preschools with a Department funding contract, this afternoon with an update on the COVID-19 Free Preschool funding arrangements for Term 3.
As services’ circumstances may have changed since Term 2 (for example, there are more JobKeeper fortnights in Term 3, some services will have entered while others will have left JobKeeper, etc.) each Approved Provider will need to complete a new Term 3 confirmation process through SmartyGrants. There is currently no closing date to complete Term 3 confirmations.
Today’s email from the Department includes separate links for different categories of preschools depending on whether they have yet completed Term 2 confirmation, and their self-assessment of their JobKeeper eligibility for Term 3.
Please read the email for more information and to find the relevant SmartyGrant links.
If you have not received the email, contact the Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 1300 755 426.
As always, CCSA is available to provide support on 1800 991 602, then select Option 2 for Member Support.
Transition to CCS Subsidy (13th July Changes)
The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has developed a transition overview and updated online resources to support services returning to the Child Care Subsidy from 13 June. The Department has also updated its online resources in preparation for the transition.
Go to this email Overview of transition arrangements and updated resources and the Department’s Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.
Closure of NSW/Victoria Border (9th July Announcement)
The NSW Department of Education released the following information on 9 July:
As you would be aware the border between NSW and Victoria closed as of 12:01am 8 July. NSW residents returning from Victoria after this time must have a permit to enter NSW and are required to self-isolate for a period of fourteen days. This means that any staff or children at your service who return from Victoria from yesterday are required to self-isolate and must not attend your service for fourteen days from the date they entered NSW.
Special provisions are in place for border communities and staff and children who routinely cross the border to attend work or education and care will need a border entry permit to travel from Victoria to NSW. This permit is valid for 14 days from the date of issue. Further information on restrictions and permits can be found here.
Typically staff and children living in border communities and crossing the border for work or to attend education and care won’t need to self-isolate unless they have travelled beyond the Victorian border to anywhere in Victoria, in which case they will need to self-isolate and be excluded from your service for fourteen days
Should services require staffing waivers due to issues arising as a result of the border closure they can contact the Department’s information and enquiries team on 1800 619 113 or by emailing email@example.com and we will prioritise the assessment of waiver applications from those services. Application fees for waivers relating to COVID-19 will be waived.
In accordance with normal protocols ANY staff or children who are unwell with symptoms of respiratory illness, whether they have travelled to Victoria or not, should remain at home and get tested for COVID-19.
Queries about CCS, fees and absences should be directed to the Australian Government CCS Helpdesk on 1300 667 276.
The Department is closely monitoring the impact of the border closure on NSW services. Queries and concerns about the impact of the border closure can be directed to our information and enquiries team on 1800 619 113 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services
Extension of Schedule X - Children's Services Award (1st July FWC Decision)
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has extended the period of operation of Schedule X – Additional Measures during the COVID-19 Pandemic for the Children’s Services Award 2010 until 30 Sep 2020.
Schedule X provides for two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave if an employee is required by government or medical authorities or on the advice of a medical practitioner to self-isolate and is consequently prevented from working, or is otherwise prevented from working by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Schedule also provides that an employee and their employer may agree to the employee, instead of taking annual leave on full pay, taking twice as much annual leave on half pay.
Periods of unpaid pandemic leave and annual leave on half pay must start before 30 September 2020 but may end after that date.
No application was made to extend Schedule X in the Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010, so it lapsed on 30 June 2020.
Amendments to the Clerks - Private Sector Award (1st July FWC Decision)
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has extended the period of operation of Schedule I – Award Flexibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic for the Clerks–Private Sector Award 2020 until 30 Sep 2020.
No application was made to the FWC to extend Schedule X – Additional Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic (which provided for up to 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave) in the Clerks–Private Sector Award 2020, so it lapsed on 30 June 2020.
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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