COVID-19 Educator Information

  • IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION & CARE RELIEF PACKAGE

    Details regarding the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package are still working their way through the system. In the meantime, further information for Educators can be found here:

    Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

    Early Childhood Education and Care COVID-19 FAQs

    Roadmap to Easing Restrictions

     

    This page is frequently updated as new information is made available. We recommend you bookmark this page and return to it regularly. Please see below for:

    • Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package FAQs
    • Payment and Maximum Allowable Hours FAQs
    • COVID-19 FAQs
    • Latest Links
    • Useful resources for Educators

     

    Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package (ECECRP) FAQs   
    (Updated 18 May 2020)

    Q 1. What is the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

    The ECECRP was implemented by the Australian Government on 6 April 2020 to ensure children have ongoing access to early childhood education and care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ECEC Relief Package replaces payments from the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) system and provides free child care to all families currently receiving child care.

    Q 2 – I have heard that “free childcare” is ending on 28 June 2020. Is this true? 

    A review of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package is currently being undertaken. As such, no announcements about whether the relief package will continue post-June 28 have been made by either the Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison, nor the Education Minister, Mr Dan Tehan.

    We understand there are media reports suggesting the relief package will not continue past this date. We will provide an update on the latest information from the government as soon as it comes to hand.

    Q 3. How am I (Educator) being paid?

    Under the ECECRP, Educator fees are covered by a combination of JobKeeper and relief package payments. Educators will be compensated for actual hours of care delivered at their rate or the cap rate. We have implemented a safety net so Educators are able to remain open and earn an income if their actual hours of care drop during this period. Our administration of the ECECRP supports our principles, that Educators should be paid at their usual rates for any care delivered.

    Q 4. Can I receive gift cards or a top up payments from families?

    Unfortunately, no. For Educator to receive payments under the ECECRP they must not apply any charges to families for child care fees or accept in-kind payments/donations from families. The combination of JobKeeper and ECECRP payments should mean that Educators are earning close to what they did prior to COVID-19. 

    Q 5. Can I still charge fees?

    If you were charging fees prior to 2 April 2020, which were not covered under CCS, then you can still charge these fees. e.g. late fees. These fees must not be increased during this time. 

    Q 6. Actual Booked Hours – Can families alter their booked hours with an Educator?

    Yes. Families will need to discuss options with their Educator and complete a Booking Change Request Form (Educator to distribute to family).

    Q 7. What if families require additional hours during this period?

    Families will need to let you know and then contact the service in advance of the care dates. Your service will provide you with a COVID-19 Hours of Care Request Form. This form is to be completed and signed by a parent/guardian, with the Educator, and then approved by the service, prior to additional care taking place.

    Q 8. The government said that child care is free. How does this work for Educators?

    The ECECRP has been implemented so families who are working during the pandemic have access to child care and do not have to pay fees. It is the role of the service to deliver the ECECRP; your (Educator) fees are covered by a combination of JobKeeper and ECECRP payments.

    Q 9. Can I reduce the hours of care I offer to families?

    In limited circumstances, your service may need to reduce the hours of care you are providing in order to prioritise care to essential workers and vulnerable children. This is because there is a limited pool of funds available to pay for care. Any reduction of hours of care will be made in discussion with the Educator, families and the service. If you have any concerns please contact your service.  

    Q 10. Are families still required to sign in and out and mark absences as usual?

    Yes, children’s actual hours and absences still need to be recognised and recorded. This will continue to remain a requirement under the ECECRP.

    Q 11. Who do I contact for further information? 

    Educators are encouraged to contact their Enhance Practice Mentor for further clarification on any of the above questions.

     

    FAQs regarding Payments and Maximum Allowable Hours

    Q 1. Will I be paid above my maximum allowable hours from this week onwards?
    From Monday 4 May 2020, you will only be paid up until your maximum allowable hours.

    Q 2. What if I require additional hours above my maximum allowable hours?
    If you require hours above your maximum allowable hours, please DO NOT complete a booking change request. You will need to request and complete  the COVID-19 Hours of Care Request Form from your service. This request form will need to be approved before care can commence.

    Q 3. What if I have new bookings or changes in care that will not be over my maximum allowable hours?
    You can continue to put through booking change requests for hours of care under your maximum allowable hours, however, if you book care or provide care above your maximum allowable hours, you will only receive payment up to these hours. It is not the responsibility of the service to manage your hours. However, if you need support to work out whether or not you will need to apply for an increase in your maximum allowable hours, please complete the following – BCP Payment Advice Form.

    Q 4. Will I be paid for the Labour Day public holiday?
    Yes. Educators will be paid for the Labour Day public holiday regardless if you did or did not work. This payment has been calculated at 5% of your reference fortnight fees for the public holiday. This calculation is a rough estimate of 50% of one day’s fees for that period. You will receive this amount in your payment advice and bank account in the next processing fortnight.

    Q 5. What are my current Maximum Allowable Hours?
    You should have received your current Maximum Allowable hours via email. 

     

    COVID-19 FAQs

    We have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions for our families relating to attendance and communication. 

    Q 1. Are early childhood education and care services open?

    Answer – As at 26 March 2020, most early childhood services and outside school hours care services are open as normal. A small number of services have temporarily closed at their discretion or on advice from Queensland Health. While we strongly encourage you to contact your service directly, the Department of Education emergency closure portal also provides information about early childhood education and care closures.

    Q 2. Is it safe to attend early childhood and education services?

    Answer – The health of Queenslanders is our priority. The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice is that pre-emptive closures are not proportionate or effective as a public health intervention to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 at this time. AHPPC considers all childcare services essential. Services are advised to remain open at this time, but with risk mitigation measures in place.

    These should include:
    – exclusion of unwell staff, children and visitors
    – enhanced personal hygiene for children, staff and parents
    – full adherence to the NHMRC childcare cleaning guidelines
    – local excursions are no longer permitted 
    – influenza vaccination for children, staff and parents

    *Please visit the COVID-19 and service operation page on the department’s website for information, including links to health agencies.

    For any ECEC COVID-19 related enquiries please phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

     

    Important Phone Numbers

    Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080

    Health advice over the phone – 13 HEALTH / 13 432584

     

    Latest Links – 8 May 2020

    Below you will find the latest links to COVID-19 resources: 

    Key advocacy points raised with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment

    Family Day Care & In Home Care Specific Information Sheet 

    Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package Information for Family Day Care

    JobKeeper Payment FAQs

    Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) 

     

    Resources – 8 May 2020

    Enhance has compiled a comprehensive list of information, links and resources to assist Educators. Please review the following resources to ensure you are up to date on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic:

    JobKeeper payment for sole traders

    COVID-19 and temporary waivers_01.04.20

    Emerging Minds – Supporting children and Educators during the COVID-19 outbreak

    Be You – COVID-19: Supporting early learning communities

    Raising Children – COVID-19 and children in Australia

    UNICEF Australia – How to talk to your children about COVID-19

    Autism Association of Western Australia – Social Stories

    SBS Insight – 8 tips on what to tell your kids about coronavirus

    Coronavirus and Kids: Resources from Save the Children (USA)

    World Health Organisation_Helping children cope with the stress of COVID-19 (Poster)

    COVID-19 multi-lingual resources

    Queensland Health

    Download the official government Coronavirus Australia app in the Apple App Store or Google Play