What arrangements and enrolments are required when there is shared care?
If a child’s parents are separated and both individuals (or their new partners) are responsible for part of the cost of the child’s child care fees, each individual must make their own claim for Child Care Subsidy and must enter into their own Complying Written Arrangement with the provider (or providers). Where one parent already has a Complying Written Arrangement in place with the provider, that Complying Written Arrangement must be varied in writing.
Each parent will be assessed separately for Child Care Subsidy based on their individual income and activity levels.
Child Care Subsidy is payable for up to 42 absence days for a child in a financial year for sessions of care (see Reporting absences). These 42 absences are for each child (not each claimant), so this number of days remains the same regardless of the number of claimants for the child.
Where families have separated after the Complying Written Arrangement has been made, the parent who is the Child Care Subsidy claimant must notify Centrelink of this change. Where the other parent, who is not the Child Care Subsidy claimant, also wishes to claim Child Care Subsidy for care provided to the child, that parent must make their own claim for Child Care Subsidy based on their own income and activity levels.
If parents separate while their child is receiving care under a Complying Written Arrangement, they should advise their provider (as well as Centrelink) of the separation as soon as possible. The provider must create a new enrolment notice for the parent who was not the Child Care Subsidy claimant for the child where that parent will be paying any of the cost of the child care fees.
Once parents have separated and have been separately assessed for Child Care Subsidy by Centrelink, payments will be calculated for each parent. Maximum hours and annual caps will apply to each parent separately depending on their circumstances, activity and income.
The provider of the approved child care service providing care to the child must ensure that the child’s attendance for each session of care is submitted under the enrolment for the parent with whom they have an arrangement, and who is responsible for paying the fees for, that particular session of care. For example, if the child’s mother is responsible for paying fees for sessions of care provided on Monday to Wednesday, and the father is responsible for paying fees for sessions of care provided on Thursday and Friday, a session of care provided on Monday must be submitted under the mother’s enrolment.
If parents do not inform the provider of their changed circumstances then it is the parents’ responsibility to resolve any disputes they may have between themselves regarding Child Care Subsidy payments and fees.
Scenario: Changing an enrolment for shared care
Julia's parents have separated and have agreed to both being equally responsible for Julia's child care fees. Previously Julia's mum was the individual claimant of Child Care Subsidy. Julia's mum sends an email to her child care provider advising of the change.
Julia's child care provider lets Julia's mum know that they must update the Complying Written Arrangement and enrolment notice for Julia. Julia's child care provider also tells Julia's mum that Julia's dad must claim Child Care Subsidy with Centrelink and have a Complying Written Arrangement and enrolment notice for Julia.
Julia's child care provider arranges for a time to meet with Julia's mum and dad and discusses the new arrangements with them. Julia's child care provider also notes which child care sessions each parent will be paying for in their respective Complying Written Arrangement so that they can submit attendances against the correct enrolment notice.
Child Care Subsidy is only payable for the child care fees that individuals are genuinely liable to pay.
If a third party pays the whole fee for all sessions on behalf of an individual, the provider must create an arrangement with an organisation (third party) enrolment for the child.
If the third party pays the whole fee for some sessions but not others, the provider can report all sessions under a Complying Written Arrangement enrolment. Where this occurs the fee reported for the sessions paid for by the third party must be zero because this is the amount the parent is liable to pay.
Alternatively, the provider can create two enrolments (a Complying Written Arrangement enrolment and an arrangement with an organisation (third party) enrolment) and report sessions paid for by the parent and third party separately.