Support essential workers - Amy Pace from Fraser Coast Family Day Care. Photo: Cody Fox
Support essential workers - Amy Pace from Fraser Coast Family Day Care. Photo: Cody Fox

‘Pay cut in half’: Reality of free childcare

FOR Amy Pace from Fraser Coast Family Daycare and her educators, who are all contracted sole traders, the government’s free childcare proposal could cripple their business, which supports 90 families.

She said under the Federal Government’s scheme, many workers would be paid less than 50 per cent of their usual income until the $130 billion dollar JobKeeper payments come into effect in the first week of May.

These payments will provide an additional $1500 per employee or sole trader.

Ms Pace said she and her contractors would need to fund the scheme from their own cash reserves for the month of April.

Even when the program kicks in, some workers may not be eligible to receive the JobSeeker funds, Ms Pace said.

Now she, along with Family Day Care Australia, hopes the Federal Government will recognise the difficult circumstances the industry faces.

She wants the government to come up with amendments to support educators during the first month.

She also says new family day care educators and services under 18 months of operation need to be protected.

“We are expected to remain open but not be paid for services provided accordingly, until relief from the JobKeeper package arrives” Ms Pace said.

Ms Pace said the Federal Government was trying to do the right thing by offering free child care, both for the public and by the industry.

Family daycare providers, however, operate differently to bigger corporate child care centres and that needed to be recognised in the package, she said.

Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan said Australia’s child care centres were experiencing mass withdrawals which threatened their ability to provide care and continuity of education, particularly to the children of essential workers.

“In designing the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package the government listened to the concerns of the peak industry organisations for the child care sector and received detailed information about their sector’s operations,” he said.