Fees and Subsidies

Mission Australia Early Learning charge fees for each day your child is booked in our service. All children attending Long Day Care and Outside of School Hours Care services operated by Mission Australia Early Learning are eligible for Government assistance.

Our enrolments team can be contacted for a personalised quote that will reflect your personal circumstances.

Child Care Subsidy

From 2 July 2018, one new Child Care Subsidy will replace the two current child care payments.

To transition, all families will need to complete an online Child Care Subsidy assessment using their Centrelink online account through MyGov. If you’re thinking about starting care, you should do this as soon as possible.

The below are required to finalise the Child Care Subsidy assessment:

  1. Combined family income
  2. Activity level of parents
  3. Type of child care service

If families do not complete their assessment before 2 July 2018, they may not receive any child care fee assistance.

Where to start: MyGov account

One of the new steps in the process of receiving benefits will be a MyGov account. This will be the way in which parents/ guardians can authorise enrolments and therefore allow the Child Care Subsidy to be paid to the service, reducing the fee amount payable.

All families need to ensure they have an active MyGov account. Below is a link to show how to set up a MyGov account if do not already have an active account.

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/online-help/create-mygov-account

Once you’ve created the MyGov account, you’ll need to link Centrelink, here’s a link to explain how: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/online-help/link-service-mygov-using-existing-online-account

Completing your assessment

When you sign into MyGov, then follow the link to Centrelink, you’ll see a notification that you have an outstanding task: Child Care Subsidy Assessment. This is how Centrelink confirms your current situation and calculates any benefits you may be entitled to.

Here's a step by step guide to completing the Child Care Subsidy Assessment: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/online-help/centrelink/claim-child-care-subsidy

Frequently asked questions:

For most families (i.e. those earning $186,958 or less) there will no longer be an annual cap on the amount of subsidy you can receive. For families earning more than $186,958 and under $351,248, an increased annual subsidy cap of $10,190 per child, per year will apply.

Your Child Care Subsidy percentage will be based on your estimated combined annual family income. Your actual subsidy entitlement will be worked out at end of year reconciliation when your actual adjusted taxable income is known (after you have lodged your tax return). The easiest way to estimate your income is to base it on your previous year's tax return as well as any expected pay rises. Because some families are unable to estimate their income accurately, 5 per cent of your weekly Child Care Subsidy entitlement will be withheld. Following reconciliation, if you haven't received enough Child Care Subsidy based on your adjusted taxable income, you will receive a lump sum payment. Parents nominate a bank account to receive any lump sum payments. If you have been paid too much Child Care Subsidy, you will have a debt to repay. You should put current salary in, if this is what you estimate your salary will be for the whole year. Don't forget to include your partner's salary, if you have one, as it is calculated based on combined annual family income. Because some families are unable to estimate their income accurately, 5 per cent of your weekly Child Care Subsidy entitlement will be withheld. Following reconciliation, if you haven't received enough Child Care Subsidy based on your adjusted taxable income you will receive a lump sum payment; if you have been paid too much Child Care Subsidy, you will have a debt to repay.

The activity test is determined at the family level. In a two parent family, both parents must meet the activity test and the person with the lower number of hours will determine the relevant step of the activity test. In a sole parent family, the sole parent must meet the activity test. The Department of Human Services will be in touch with families from around April 2018 to ask you to update your income estimate and provide details about your activity. This information will be used to calculate your Child Care Subsidy percentage. You will not have to fill in a new claim form, unless you are a family using child care for the first time.

What is an activity?

There are a range of activities that meet the activity test: paid work (including leave), study and training, unpaid work in a family business, looking for work, volunteering, self-employment, and other activities on a case by case basis. You can also include reasonable travel time to and from your place of activity to your child carecentre.

How do I prove how many hours I work, study or volunteer?

Parents self-declare their activity to the Department of Human Services (DHS) and no evidence is required at the time you self-declare. This is generally done just prior to a new financial year, when you provide your income estimate for the coming financial year. DHS might ask some parents to provide evidence as part of their normal random spot checks. Evidence could include, for example, a copy of a pay slip or a letter from the organisation where you volunteer. Parents can change or update their activity test details whenever they need to. This will be done via your myGov account, including via an app on your smartphone.

What if I work irregular work hours?

If you work irregular hours you can estimate the number of hours you work per fortnight over a three-month period. You can include a reasonable amount of time to travel to and from the child care service to your place of activity, if you need to. Your estimate should be for the highest number of hours you might require, even if you don't require those hours every day. This gives you the flexibility to pick up additional hours of work and know that care will be available. If your irregular hours change that's okay as you can update them whenever you need to. You will do this via your myGov account, including via an app on your smartphone.

Is looking for work considered an activity?

Actively looking for work is a recognised activity. If it's the only activity you do, you will meet the first step of the activity test (36 hours of subsidised child care per child, per fortnight). You can combine actively looking for work with another recognised activity such as an approved study course to receive further hours of subsidised child care.

How do I calculate my study hours to meet the activity test?

When calculating study hours (part-time or full-time), include course contact hours, study outside course contact hours, and breaks such as term breaks. You will need to undertake at least eight hours of study per fortnight to be entitled to 36 hours of subsidised child care per child, per fortnight.

My activity levels will change regularly. How do I update this information?

You can change or update your activity test details whenever you need to. You will do this via your myGov account, including via an app on your smartphone. Updating your details whenever they change will help you avoid getting a debt.

How will being on Parenting Payment Partnered affect my activity level?

If you are on Parenting Payment Partnered, and the only activity you undertake is meeting your mutual obligation requirements under that payment, then your entitlement will be 36 hours per fortnight. You can also combine your mutual obligation activities with other activities, such as volunteering, to be entitled to more hours of subsidised care. If you have an exemption from mutual obligation requirements, then you will be entitled to 100 hours per fortnight.

Do I need to do additional activity if I am on Carer Payment or Carer Allowance?

If you are on Carer Payment your activity test result will be 100 hours per fortnight. If you are providing constant care for someone but don't qualify for Carer Payment, because of the income or assets test requirement, your activity test result will also be 100 hours per fortnight. As a Carer Allowance recipient you will meet the activity test and have an automatic entitlement to 72 hours per fortnight. This can be increased to 100 hours per fortnight if combined with another recognised activity.  If you have a partner, they will also need to meet the activity test, and the hours of subsidised care per fortnight you will be entitled to as a family, will be based on whichever of you has the lower activity level.

Do grandparents with a disability need to meet the activity test?

Grandparents who are the primary carers for their grandchildren are exempt from the activity test.

Is parental leave considered an activity?

If you undertake paid work, and paid or unpaid parental leave is a condition of your employment (as an employee or contractor), then this is considered to be part of your paid work. The hours of activity will be the same as what they were immediately prior to you commencing parental leave but it needs to be at least eight hours per fortnight. So, if you were working part-time or full time, then you are still considered to be a part-time or full-time employee while you are on parental leave. This is the same as the current system.

Is looking after my own children considered an activity?

Looking after your own children at home does not count as an activity.

Does being on sickness benefit impact on the activity test?

Depending on what type of sickness benefit you receive, this may qualify as meeting the activity test.

Is travel time considered an activity?

You can include a reasonable amount of travel time to and from the child care service to your place of work, study or other recognised activity.

I'm a teacher. Does the work I do at home count towards my activity hours?

If you are a teacher, school holidays count as they are part of your conditions of employment. Planning lessons at home would be considered to be part of your normal requirements and wouldn't count as extra activity hours.

Is working in a family business a recognised activity?

Yes. Working in a family business owned by a member of your immediate family such as your partner, your parent or your parent's partner, a sibling, one of your adult children or their partner, or another person as determined by the Department of Human Services, is a recognised activity.

What is approved study?

An approved course of study means a secondary or tertiary course. The study activity requirements will include:

  • level two (Certificate II) to 6 (Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree)
  • level 8 (Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma)
  • level 7 (Bachelor Degree)
  • a secondary course or preparatory course.

Is being self-employed a recognised activity?

Being self-employed is a recognised activity, as is setting up a business (for a maximum of six months).

Is volunteering a recognised activity?

Yes. The definition of voluntary work is activities which could be expected to improve your work skills or employment prospects (or both); voluntary work for a charitable, welfare or community organisation; or voluntary work for a school, preschool or centre based day care service, if the work directly supports the learning and development of the children at the school, preschool or service.  For example, participating in a reading program would be a recognised activity, but being on the Parents and Citizens Committee, or working in the school canteen, are considered parental duties and would not be considered a recognised activity. If volunteering is your only activity you will be eligible for the first step of the activity test (36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight).

Is coaching my child's football team considered a volunteer activity?

As coaching is undertaking a parental role, it is not considered as a volunteer activity.

Families in these circumstances may be able to access the Additional Child Care Subsidy under the new Child Care Subsidy, subject to individual circumstances.

Will full-time grandparent carers be entitled to access subsidised child care?

Being the principal carer of your grandchildren means that you look after them for at least 65 per cent of the time and you have substantial autonomy for the day-to-day decisions about the child's care, welfare and development.

Grandparents on income support, who are the principal carers for their grandchildren, will have access to subsidised care through Additional Child Care Subsidy (Grandparents). The subsidy will be equal to 100 per cent of the actual fee charged up to 120 per cent of the relevant hourly rate cap, for up to 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight.

Grandparents who are the principal carer and who are not on income support will be exempt from the activity test (and able to access up to 100 hours of subsidised care per fortnight). However, their subsidy percentage will be determined by their income.

Will JET still be around under the new Child Care Subsidy?

Yes, the payment Additional Child Care Subsidy (Transition to Work) will be similar to Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance and will support families who are transitioning to work from income support.

Transition to work means transitioning from an income support payment to work by engaging in work, study or training activities and it will cover 95% of your actual fees. Families who are transitioning from income support to work by engaging in work, study or training activities and have a Job Plan in effect, will be supported by Additional Child Care Subsidy (Transition to Work).

What you can do to prepare

  • Keep your details with the Department of Human Services up to date
  • Get acquainted with the new subsidy by going online and checking the estimator
  • Look at the information and factsheets at https://www.education.gov.au/ChildCarePackage or on the Department of Education and Training Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AusGovEducation/
  • Respond to letters from the Department of Human Services asking you to update income and activity details

Because some families are unable to estimate their income accurately, 5 per cent of your weekly Child Care Subsidy entitlement will be withheld. Following reconciliation, if you haven't received enough Child Care Subsidy based on your adjusted taxable income, you will receive a lump sum payment. If you have been paid too much Child Care Subsidy, you will have a debt to repay.

 

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