Chief Executive Officer Julia Davison said New Year’s Day will be the first free public holiday under the new policy which was changed after listening to feedback from families who feel charging on public holidays, when their centre is closed, is unfair.
“As a not-for-profit we believe access to high quality early learning should be affordable and equitable and this change will make it fairer for our families, Ms Davison said.
“We’ve had to balance that with the need to be able to pay our operating costs.
“Our children and families are at the heart of everything we do at Goodstart and we have worked hard to find a way to implement this major change in our pricing policy.
“We will become the first large early learning provider in Australia to cease charging on public holidays, giving our families a much fairer go. Especially as many parents and carers have to work on public holidays and many of them were paying for childcare they could not access.”
“Families will now have more flexibility and will be able to book days with confidence knowing they won’t be charged for a day where no service is provided.”
The change will not impact Goodstart staff who will continue to be paid for public holidays they are entitled to. While Goodstart will absorb some of the cost, a small fee increase of around $3 per day – less any Child Care Subsidy families are entitled to - will allow the change to be made while meeting wages and rent costs.
There will be exemptions, including for families paying for six-hour sessions or two-day nine-hour kindergarten sessions will be exempt from any increase to ensure at risk and vulnerable children still have access to quality early learning and care.
“By averaging the costs across all days that we are open, families can now book for care knowing that they will only pay for days that the centre is open,” Ms Davison said.
She said the majority of families would be better off under the change however a small percentage of families would see a slight increase across the year, but fee modelling would ensure this was kept to a minimum.
“Our centre directors will work with all families to ensure they get the most out of this change, particularly in relation to our session offers and the impact on their Child Care Subsidy.”
In 2020, four of the nine nationally observed public holidays fall on a Monday, with four of the eight States and Territories are declaring an additional public holiday which also falls on a Monday.
Ms Davison said previously this meant a family who booked a Monday in a long day care centre could be paying for 4-5 days of care a year that they could not use.
“This will no longer be the case which we think is a much fairer system and highlights our commitment as a social enterprise to work with our families and our people to provide better outcomes for all children.”