Returning to work after kids comes with a whole set of challenges. Are you ready? Are your children ready? How do you find the right child care? Can you afford child care? Are you eligible for child care subsidy?
WOW! Just breathe. That’s a lot to take in.
What I have found is that it often appears scarier than it actually is. With the government’s new Child Care Subsidy commencing 2 July, a lot of parents are concerned about how the changes will impact them and their budgets. Around 1 million Australian families will benefit from the new Subsidy, however, some will be better off than others.
Child care centres and the new subsidy
I don’t know about other child care centres but my 2 year old daughter goes to Goodstart Early Learning and they have just added some flexible new options so even families that will be receiving a reduction in eligible hours can still maximise their entitlements. As a working mother, I think this is a great idea and one that will be very well received by families!
Goodstart Early Learning introduces flexible sessions
In an effort to support families, Goodstart have introduced these flexible options to reduce out-of-pocket costs and help make child care more affordable.
Knowing that one size does not fit all, (our centre is open 6.30am – 6.30pm) they have now introduced 9 and 10 hour sessions in addition to their all day sessions. These new options are perfect for families that may not need a full 12 hour day of child care.
Under the new Child Care Subsidy, I am eligible for 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight at 50%. Changing to the new 10 hour session would mean that if I needed to, I could have my daughter attend care five days a week without going over my entitled hours. Without this flexible option, I would have to pay one day at full rates in addition to the subsidised four days. (This would equate to be an extra $65 per week).
The new Child Care Package
There is a lot of confusion around the new package and how each family’s entitlements are calculated. Here are the three factors that determine your Child Care Subsidy:
1. Combined family income
Here’s what the Government will contribute to your child care based on your combined family income:
- Up to $66,958 = $85%
- Over $66,958 to under $171,958 = gradually reducing to 50%
- $171,958 to under $251,248 = 50%
- $251,248 to under $341,248 = gradually reducing to 20%
- $341,248 to under $351,248 = 20%
- $351,248 or more = 0%
2. Hours of activity / recognised activities
The more hours of recognised activity you do the more hours of subsidised care you are entitled to, up to a maximum of 100 hours per fortnight per child. Hours of activity are based on the parent with the lowest hours of activity. Recognised activities include: paid work (this includes maternity leave), looking for work, volunteering, study and training, self-employment and unpaid work in family business.
– For families earning up to $66,958
- Families in recognised activity less than 8 hours are entitled to a maximum24 hours of subsidised care per fortnight
– For families earning up to $351,248
- Families in recognised activity 8 to 16 hours are entitled to a maximum of 36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight
- Families in recognised activity 17 to 48 hours are entitled to a maximum of 72 hours of subsidised care per fortnight
- Families in recognised activity more than 48 are entitled to a maximum of 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight
3. Type of child care service
New hourly caps are now set depending on the type of child care service. The hourly cap is the maximum amount the Government will subsidise.
- After school care = $10.29 p/h
- Family day care = $10.90 p/h
- Centre based child care = $11.77 p/h
- In home care = $25.48 p/h (per family)
Finding the right child care for your family
There are so many things to consider when choosing child care for your family. If you are currently looking to place your baby, toddler or pre-schooler into child care, you can find some tips to help here. How to choose a child care centre.
As I mentioned earlier, my daughter attends Goodstart Early Learning and we love it. My other daughter also attended the same Goodstart centre before she started Kindergarten and the team are great. In fact, most of the staff that were there two years ago when Haddie attended are still there now!
While I cannot speak for all centres, the one my daughter attends has been incredibly helpful, supportive and wants to see your child succeed as much as you do. I also like that Goodstart is a not for profit so any surplus they do make is reinvested back into the centre and programs for the teachers and children.
Does the new Child Care Subsidy effect you?
I know a lot of families that are looking to make changes with not just their work hours but also the child care provider they use. Based on my personal experience, if you are looking for an early learning centre that offers flexibility, I highly recommend checking out your local Goodstart.
How has the new Government Child Care Subsidy affected your family?
*This is an S1 POST.
^Figures are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change.
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