Gap fee waiver in Sydney supports families to retain ties to early learning and care

Media release

15 July 2021

The Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) has welcomed today’s decision by the Australian Government that providers of early learning and care services in the NSW lockdown zone may waive the ‘gap fee’ for children who are not currently attending.

‘We congratulate the Government for acting to support the families of young children in this way,’ said ELACCA CEO Elizabeth Death. ‘This decision enables our members to lift a financial burden from families who are living through very stressful circumstances.

‘Particularly for families who have experienced a loss of income due to the current lockdown, the waiving of the legal requirement to pay for care when their child is not attending will come as a big relief.’  

Early learning and care services in the Greater Sydney region have seen a drop in children’s attendances since the lockdown began last month, and some families have cancelled their children’s enrolments altogether, rather than be liable for gap fee payments.

‘A gap fee waiver will mean that providers of early learning and care services are forgoing income, but many of them will opt to do this, in order to ease the financial burden on families and to retain continuity of education and care for children during such difficult times,’ Ms Death said.

‘We will continue to work with the Australian Government to develop a full package of measures to introduce, as a matter of course, in any future lockdowns across Australia, to provide parents with fee relief and early learning and care providers with business certainty.’