Home | News | Government want to charge for childcare by the hour

Government want to charge for childcare by the hour

Families could pay for childcare by the hour under a federal government proposal.

The education minister, Simon Birmingham, told The Australian it’s unacceptable that families who routinely need and use only four, six or eight hours of care are charged for 10 or 12 hours. The government is hoping the hourly charge could start in 2017 but needs to get the legislation through Parliament first.

Cross-bench Senator David Leyonhjelm is open to the change. “This is a small step in the right direction,” Leyonhjelm told reporters. And independent Senator Nick Xenophon stressed it was an important issue that needed attention.

The Independent Education Union said, however, that the proposal would “create an administrative nightmare and show a lack of understanding of the early childhood teaching profession”.

“Basically, this smacks of a view that early childhood teaching is just babysitting, rather than education for children during the most crucial developmental stage of their lives, the 0–5 years,” said IEU early childhood sector officer Verena Heron. “It shows a poor understanding of the industry and would ultimately lead to higher fees for parents.”

President of the Australian Childcare Alliance, Gwynn Bridge, also expressed her concerns. “On the surface it can sound wonderful but we need to look at the fact that we are long day care,” Bridge said. “If we have children coming in and out of services for three, four hours a day, it’s not going to be the same quality that we have now.”

Bridge also explained that the new proposal would have a major impact on educators and having such short hours of work would diminish their titles. She also said children wouldn’t be at childcare long enough to participate in an early learning program and would therefore be less ready for school.

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10 comments

  1. This could potentially close many services.

    This is a poorly thought out idea that isn’t supporting the best needs of the child. Not only is it a damaging idea to our current model of EC learning, but it could have devastating effects on the wonderful EC Educators wishing to remain and also those wishing to enter the EC employment sector.

    The legislators must remember that many services both community and private, have to be accountable and remain in profit in order to keep their doors open. This will force services to tighten up their options and / or close their doors; which will only make childcare even less affordable and harder to come by!

    Most of the parents who only work for several hours a day are in favour of their child having the full daily program on offer at my service. I cannot see how anyone (except for the government) will benefit from this, simply because then they will have to fork out less childcare subsidies.

    Perhaps the government should be changing their licensing laws to accommodate part time EC services. The government are extremely rigid and tunnel visioned in their licensing of services.

    Australia should be following the models of EC as in Scandinavia which leads the world in EC pedagogy.

    If this is not about the parent and their part time employment; if this idea is because a parent is only wanting their child in for 3-4 hours per day for socialisation, then perhaps they should be considering attending a playgroup where they in fact are required to BE with their child.

  2. As an educational provider this is absolutely ridiculous idea how can they imagine that this type of care will be productive for children. It will create an administration nightmare managing times days and needs of the children

  3. This will cause centres to charge high hourly rates to combat the differences in lost income. They have ratios to comply with, staff to pay. Childcare fees are already through the roof and parents do not realise the impact of the new ratio changes to 2 year olds. Childcare is expensive enough, we don’t need more increases

  4. I think this notion is ridiculous. If parents what this type of care then they can opt for Family Daycare, but even then there is usually a 6hr min of care required.

    I agree that this would cause such an administrative nightmare & that it really does put us back into the Babysitters Club!

    Long Day Care is a Education & Care service, EDUCATING children…. We’re are not Babysitters! Wake up & smell the sunshine Government!

  5. I believe it is hard enough to meet the outcomes of “My Time Our place” and NQF standards for the individual child under the current system.

    It would be impossible to staff an OSHC sector that is already having difficulty to find qualified educators due to limited hours available for work. And I strongly agree with the above statements, that it would undermine the professional value of our educators and educational programs.

    I also agree it will create an administrative nightmare, that threaten smaller services ability and affordability to remain in operation. This is not a well thought out proposal from a government spoke persons who have not looked deep enough to understand how services work and the commitment/requirement to care for and educate the child while catering for their individual needs.

    DO NOT PUT Childcare back into the dark ages being that it is expensive enough to place children into qualified care. Lets not drive it back, as a result of uninformed and inadequate legislation, into unregulated back street babysitting, for the sake of the children and the future educational standards of Australian children.

  6. This idea shows the government (or at least this minister) has absolutely no idea about the early childhood sector what-so-ever.

    This proposal does NOT support better quality education for children, better conditions for educators, more efficient operations for Centre management or lower costs for parents.

    It doesn’t tick any boxes at all so it should be consigned to the big round file where it belongs.

    Seriously people (in politics) – open your eyes and your ears !!!

  7. i find this absolutely ridiculous we are a long day care service not an occasional care, alot of centres will lose to this and will be forced to shut down. what will happen then??

  8. Has this Senator done any research, this would put childcare back years.
    Long Day Care Centres are not babysitters ,if you want a few hours care then use occasional care or a nanny! How will the EYLF work if a child is only there for a few hours a week. or the school readiness
    work. Most ridiculous idea the Govt has come up with today. How would you work ratios and staff.
    All this would do is put up childcare rates ,which are already hurting families.

  9. I am the Director of an Occasional Child Care Centre which provides a flexible service whereby families can book a permanent position or as a casual. Both permanent and casual places can be on an hourly or full day basis. Families have the advantage as they pay for what they use but if not for Government Funding we would run at a loss and it is very tricky managing it all. I need to always ensure staff ratios are maintained. I am fortunate that all staff job share otherwise it would be difficult to ensure all educators have adequate work hours.

    I don’t see how it will be financially viable for private centre owners. Maybe we need to look at providing more occasional child care centres. Long day care does not suit part time workers, parents that are students or for those who need relief care for emergencies such as doctors appointments and so on. Just a thought!

  10. While I understand where this is coming from this takes us back a step and paints us as babysitters. We are NOT babysitters. So much time and planning goes into creating our curriculum, the individual learning journeys of the children, etc. It would be far too hard to shape a learning journey or involve a child in the curriculum if they only were to attend, for example, five hours a week. Even one day a week can be tough but its enough to gather information and observations for the child in order to involve them. I’m not saying the quality of care would be any less, as we work our absolute butts off to make sure every child is happy, safe and learning. We go through intense training to call ourselves educators. The amount of paperwork is phenomenal, and all the while we are looking after large groups of children, ensuring everyone is safe as well as going through the routines of the day, meal times, sleep time, bottles, play time, etc.
    Not only that but the administration side of it WOULD become a nightmare. Seriously.

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