The number of hours of subsidised child care that families have access to per fortnight is determined by a three-step activity test.
In two parent families both parents, unless exempt, must meet the activity test. In the case where both parents meet different steps of the activity test, the parent with the lowest entitlement determines the hours of subsidised care for the child.
|Step||Hours of activity*||Maximum number of hours of subsidy per child*|
|1||8 hours to 16 hours||36 hours|
|2||More than 16 hours to 48 hours||72 hours|
|3||More than 48 hours||100 hours|
A broad range of activities meet the activity test requirements, including:
- paid work, including being self-employed or on leave (including paid or unpaid parental leave)
- doing unpaid work in the family business
- training courses for the purpose of improving the individual's work skills or employment prospects
- an approved course of education or study
- unpaid work experience or internships
- actively setting up a business
- actively looking for work.
Recognised activities can be combined to determine the maximum number of hours of subsidy. Time taken to travel between the child care service and the parents/carers place of work, training, study, or other recognised activity can also be included.
Activity hours do not need to coincide with child care hours. For example, an individual undertaking work on the weekends is entitled to Child Care Subsidy during the week.
Low income families with a combined annual income of $66,958 or less who do not meet and are not exempt from the activity test are entitled to 24 hours of subsided care per fortnight under the Child Care Safety Net.
There are exemptions to the activity test for individuals who legitimately cannot meet the activity test requirements, such as parents with disability and carers.
Families who do not meet and are not exempt from the activity test and have a preschool aged child who attends preschool at a centre‑based day care service may be entitled to 36 hours of subsidised care per fortnight. This only applies to the preschool aged child/ren in the family. To receive this entitlement, the child needs to be in the year two years before grade one of school (based on information provided in the family’s claim) and attending an appropriate preschool program at a centre-based day care service (as reported by the family’s child care service).
The other two factors that will determine a family's level of Child Care Subsidy are:
A range of information resources are available to assist families and providers.