Absences from child care

Families can get Child Care Subsidy (CCS) when their child is unable to attend child care up to 42 days a year. Families can get extra absence days in certain circumstances.

On this page:

Allowable absences

Families can get CCS when their child is absent from a session of care they would normally attend for up to 42 days per child, per financial year.

We increased the allowable absence count to 52 days for the 2021–22 and 2022–23 financial years, due to COVID-19.

Families can use their absence days for any reason. They don’t need to provide evidence.

In shared care arrangements, the allowable absences count is allocated to the child, not to each individual parent.

If a child is enrolled in more than one session of care on the same day (such as before and after school care) and is absent for one of those sessions, it is counted as one absence day.

Additional absences

Families may be able to get additional absences once they have used their allowable absence days, in certain circumstances.

These circumstances are:

Additional absence reason

Evidence required

The child or a member of their immediate household is ill

A medical certificate, or

Evidence of a positive COVID-19 test result from a government agency or pathology service

The child is attending preschool

Evidence is not required

You must be reasonably satisfied the reason has been met

Alternative arrangements have been made for the child on a pupil-free day

Evidence is not required

You must be reasonably satisfied the reason has been met

The child has not been immunised against an infectious disease and the absence occurs during an immunisation grace period

A medical certificate stating that exposure to the infectious disease would pose a health risk to the child

The child is spending time with a person other than their usual carer as required by a court order or parenting plan

A copy of the relevant court order or parenting plan

The child cannot attend because of a period of emergency, for up to 28 days after the emergency

Evidence is not required

You must be reasonably satisfied the reason has been met

The child’s carer chooses not to send the child due to a period of emergency, for up to 7 days after the emergency

Evidence is not required

You must be reasonably satisfied the reason has been met

Emergency absences

During a period of emergency, families won’t have to use their annual allocation of allowable absences.

Children who live or attend a service in an affected region will get extra allowable absences for the duration of the period of emergency.

These absences will be automatically applied in the Child Care Subsidy System if we declare a period of emergency.

After a period of emergency, families may receive additional absences if they have exhausted their annual allocation of allowable absences.

Absences at the start or end of an enrolment

Generally, absences should occur between a child’s first and last physical attendance at your service.

There are some circumstances where families can get CCS if an absence occurs in the 7 days:

  • before a child’s first attendance at your service (inclusive of their first day), or
  • after their last physical attendance at your service (inclusive of their last day).

These circumstances are:

  • any of the additional absence reasons listed above
  • the service has changed ownership
  • the child’s usual service is closed and the child attends a different service under the same provider
  • a family tragedy has occurred
  • the enrolment ceased incorrectly
  • a child or a member of their immediate household must isolate or has COVID-19 (between 1 December 2021 and 30 June 2023)
  • following a period of emergency.

Claiming absences

You can claim an absence in your session reports if:

  • the child was enrolled in a session of care but did not attend, and
  • the family has been charged a gap fee for that session of care.

You cannot claim absences when your service is closed, except on a public holiday by law or during a period of emergency. During a period of emergency, the closure must be as a direct result of the emergency.

You must keep a record of absences.

Families can see their year-to-date absence count in their Centrelink online account via myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.