Who doesn't like public holidays?
A potential day off work, or for those still working they can earn some extra cash for a regular shift.
In an Early Childhood Service, there's one issue to add into the mix when thinking about what to do on a public holiday - Child Care Subsidy (CCS).
"Can I Still Claim CCS on a Public Holiday?"
In short, yes.
You still have to pay staff who would otherwise be at work on that day (per laws around employment), and the department doesn't want you to lose money for that day.
So you can claim CCS, but you have to meet a few requirements to charge families.
Your service would normally be open that day
Let's say Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, and your service is only open Monday-Friday. You can't claim CCS for this day, but you can claim CCS for the Christmas Day public holiday that happens on the following Monday. This is because your service would normally be open on that Monday.
The child would normally attend that day
You make staffing arrangements based on the number of children expected to attend. It would be unfair to allow you to charge for every child as you'd be making more revenue that if you were open, alongside other costs. Therefore, you can only charge families for children that were expected to be in the service that day, had the public holiday not occurred.
"So I Can Claim CCS - Great News!"
But wait. There's also another party to consider here.
In order to claim CCS, you must:
Charge families (including the gap fee)
Record an absence for that day
This isn't the best for families, as it means they're effectively paying for care they haven't received, and it means the child has one less allowable absence.
But the alternative is the service running at a loss for the day, which can be a big problem for cashflow.
"So what can I do if I don't want to charge families full fees?"
There are a few options providers can choose from to make sure public holidays run smoothly for the business, staff and families.
Don't charge families
This means no income for the day, and outgoings such as wages, still paying rent, any energy used that day to keep things running (fridges etc.). However, it's going to have a positive impact on families and if that's your priority then of course you can forego charging and claiming CCS.
Open As Usual
Some services can open as usual, paying staff their public holiday penalty rates. This might be expensive for the service to open & you may have lots of absences. Depending on your team, some staff may be excited to work for double pay, and others might be upset about being made to work a public holiday. You'll have to judge this one.
Charge Families A Discounted Rate
Probably the most popular option, many services opt to charge families a discounted rate. This allows them to recoup the outgoings from having to pay staff, whilst allowing families to save some money. Remember though, you can't claim the full CCS amount. So if you reduce you rate from $100 to $80, you can only claim the portion of CCS on the $80 charged. This isn't like the staff discount.
Most services usually have a policy around this that they can refer to when it comes to public holidays.
Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you're abiding by the CCS rules and regulations.
Want a list of the public holidays for 2022? Download the 2022 ECEC Calendar!