Child care fees

Child Care Subsidy (CCS) is generally paid to providers who pass it on to families as a fee reduction. Families must make a co-contribution by paying the gap fee. Providers must report fee information to the government.

On this page:

Child Care Subsidy payments

We make CCS payments to child care providers to pass on to parents as a fee reduction.

There are some circumstances where we’ll make CCS payments directly to parents.

Find out when we pay CCS to parents.

Gap fees

Families who receive CCS are required to make a co-contribution to their child care fees under Family Assistance Law. They do this by paying the difference between the provider’s fee and the CCS amount. This is known as the out-of-pocket or gap fee.

This requirement does not apply to families who receive Additional Child Care Subsidy (child wellbeing) or (grandparent). That is because this subsidy generally covers 100% of the fee charged.

Waiving fees

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we allow services to waive gap fees in certain circumstances.

Learn about waiving gap fees on our COVID-19 information for the early childhood sector.

Third-party payments

Where a third party helps a family pay their child care fees, the amount of CCS paid reduces, maintaining a gap fee. 

To help disadvantaged and vulnerable children attend quality early childhood education and care, state and territory governments can pay the gap fee on behalf of a family without their CCS reducing.

Learn more about third-party payment of gap fees.

Discounts for early childhood workforce

Providers can offer a discounted fee to educators they employ whose children are enrolled at one of their services. The discount will not affect the employee’s CCS entitlement.

This measure will help providers attract and retain their early childhood workforce.

Learn more about discounts for the early childhood workforce.

Fee caps

We set a maximum hourly rate of subsidy for each service type.

Learn more about service types and hourly rate cap.

Reporting fees

It is important that information about fees is available to families considering child care options.

Providers must report their current fees for continued CCS approval. We publish this information on the Starting Blocks website.

This is a legal requirement under Family Assistance Law. There are penalties if you don’t report fees, including suspension of payments or cancellation of CCS approval.

All reporting obligations are listed in the Child Care Provider Handbook.

What to report

You must report:

  • current hourly fees before CCS, discounts or reductions, or
  • current session fees before CCS, discounts or reductions, and
  • any changes to fees (within 14 days of the change).

How to report fees

Providers can report fees through the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or their third-party software.

We cannot accept fee reporting by phone or email.

For help see the task card on reporting fees in the PEP or contact your software provider.