Payments and 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

Services Australia pays CCS to approved providers to pass on to families as a fee reduction.

In limited circumstances, Services Australia may pay CCS directly to a family.

Services Australia uses session reports to calculate CCS payments.

CCS fortnights

A CCS fortnight is a 2-week period that starts every second Monday.

Generally, we calculate CCS at the start of a CCS fortnight. This amount continues for the whole fortnight regardless of any change of circumstance. 

For example, if a child turns 6 partway through a CCS fortnight, any younger children will keep the higher subsidy for the whole fortnight.

How payments are made

Payments are made to a provider's nominated bank account.

You must keep your bank account details up to date in the Child Care Subsidy System. Check and update your details via the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software.

When payments are made

Services Australia processes payments at 9 am each Monday. Payments are for sessions of care that occurred in the week prior that were reported by 9 pm on Sunday.

Session reports submitted after 9 pm on Sunday are processed upon receipt, after 9 am on Monday.

Session report submitted Payment processed
Before 9 pm on Sunday 9 am the following Monday
After 9 pm on Sunday Upon receipt

Payment adjustments

You can update or withdraw session reports up to 28 days after the start of the week for which the report relates.

Failure to update incorrect session reports within 28 days may result in compliance action.

If you update or withdraw a session report, any payment adjustments will be processed upon receipt.

Payment notifications

Once a payment has been processed, you’ll receive a payment advice in the Child Care Subsidy System. Access the payment advice via the PEP or your third-party software.

The payment advice outlines:

  • how much CCS was paid
  • how much CCS was withheld
  • if any amount was taken as payment towards a debt owed
  • the total amount paid to the provider
  • if any amount was paid directly to the family.

Passing payments on to families

You must pass payments on to families, as a fee reduction, within 14 days of receiving it. If you cannot pass on a payment within this timeframe, you must pay it back to Services Australia via the Child Care Subsidy System.

Failure to pass payments on to families may result in compliance action.

You must provide a statement of entitlement to families who get CCS every fortnight. We outline what a statement of entitlement must include below.

Payments to families

Services Australia may occasionally pay CCS directly to a family. This occurs when care is provided before a family has been assessed as eligible for CCS.

Generally, families should make a CCS claim and establish their eligibility before their child attends care. You may occasionally provide care to a child before their claim has been finalised.

In this scenario, you should charge the family full fees. You should not charge fees based on estimated CCS or ACCS entitlements.

This is because Services Australia will pay any backdated CCS directly to the family if they are assessed as eligible.

Providers that charge fees based on estimated entitlements are responsible for recovering any unpaid amounts.

Services Australia may also pay CCS directly to a family if the family tells them about a change of circumstances that would increase their entitlement after a session report has been submitted.

Payments to families overseas

Generally, Australian Government payments are not payable while the recipient is overseas. Government payments are targeted to families who live and work in Australia.

To remain eligible for CCS, a family must meet residency requirements. This means:

  • payments will stop when a family leaves to live in another country
  • payments will stop after 6 weeks when a family travels overseas.

A family can use their 42 allowable absences for short term travel overseas.

After 6 weeks overseas, the family will need to pay full fees if you choose to charge fees. However, you are not obliged to charge fees. You may choose to temporarily backfill available places with casual enrolments.

Families planning to be overseas longer than 6 weeks may prefer to end their enrolment and start a new enrolment upon return.

Families can find more information on the Services Australia website.

Withholding

Services Australia withholds 5% of a family's CCS. If a family receives too much CCS, the withholdings that have been set aside will reduce what they owe at the end of the financial year.

Families can change their withholding percentage up to twice a year using their Centrelink online account through myGov. If families want to change it more than this, they’ll need to call the Families line.

Overpayments

Sometimes, you may receive more CCS than you're entitled to. This is known as an overpayment. If this happens, we’ll use your future CCS payments to pay back the difference.

Learn about overpayments.

Balancing

Services Australia balances CCS payments after each financial year to ensure families are paid the right amount. The balancing process is a matter between families and Services Australia.

Learn about balancing.

Gap fees

Families who get CCS must make a co-contribution to their child care fees. This is a requirement 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 gap fee.

Families must pay the gap fee using electronic means, or EFT. Learn more about electronic payment of gap fees.

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

Waiving fees

You may be able to waive gap fees in certain circumstances, such as during a period of emergency. 

Learn about waiving gap fees during a period of emergency.

Third-party payments

There are rules when a third party contributes to a family’s child care fees.

In most cases, the third-party contribution will reduce the family’s CCS amount. There are some exceptions to help disadvantaged and vulnerable children and families.

Learn about the rules when a third-party contributes to gap fees.

Discounts for early childhood workforce

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

Learn about discounts for the early childhood workforce.

Fee caps

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

See the hourly rate cap for each care type.

Reporting fees

It is important that information about fees is available to families.

You must report your current fees in the Child Care Subsidy System. Do this via the PEP or your third-party software.

We publish this information to StartingBlocks.gov.au.

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.

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.

This is a requirement under Family Assistance Law. We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations.

Statements of entitlement

You must provide a statement of entitlement to families who get CCS at your service every fortnight.

This is a requirement under Family Assistance Law. We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations.

The statement of entitlement helps families understand the relationship between:

  • their CCS amount
  • the amount withheld, and
  • the fee you charge.

The below table outlines what a statement of entitlement must include.

You can only issue a statement of entitlement for care that has already occurred. You cannot issue them in advance based on estimates.

When and how you invoice families is an individual business decision. We don’t recommend invoicing in advance based on estimates as a family’s CCS entitlement can vary for a range of reasons.

Details What to include
Statement details
  • Name of the individual to whom the statement is issued.
  • Name of the child/ren to whom sessions of care were provided.
  • Unique identifier on each child's enrolment.
  • Date of issue.
  • Start and end dates of the statement period.
Provider and service details
  • Name of the provider.
  • Any business name of the service registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
  • Australian Business Number (ABN) for the provider.
  • ABN for the service (if different to the provider).
  • Unique identifier for the provider and the service.
  • For Family Day Care or In Home Care:
    • the name and unique identifier of each educator who provided care during the statement period
    • which sessions of care the educator provided.
Sessions of care
  • Daily and weekly totals of the number of hours of care provided during the statement period, including start and end times for each session of care.
  • Daily and weekly totals of the number of physical attendance during the statement period, including start and end times of the physical attendance.
  • The sum of allowable and additional absences for the statement period.
  • The sum of allowable and additional absences cumulatively for the financial year.
Fees
  • Hourly session fee for each session of care in the statement period.
  • Daily and weekly totals of the amount of all fees charged during the statement period.
  • Details about any discounts or refunds applied.
Fee reduction amounts
  • The number of hours for which the fees were reduced, or for which the individual otherwise received the benefit of the fee reduction.
  • The total of the fee reduction amounts of which the provider was given notice by the department.
  • A breakdown of the amounts of fee reduction for each session of care and whether it related to the payment of the Child Care Subsidy or Additional Child Care Subsidy.
Actual attendance
  • Actual in and out times for all sessions, except absences.

Service closures

You must tell us within 14 days if you close your service or change your operating hours.

This is a requirement under Family Assistance Law.

Let us know via the Provider Entry Point (PEP) or your third-party software. You also need to tell your state or territory regulatory authority.

Families can only get CCS when your service is open and providing care, unless it is a public holiday or during a period of emergency.

You cannot claim absences when your service is closed, except on a public holiday or during a period of emergency.

On a public holiday, you may only claim absences for children who would have otherwise attended care on that day.

If your service is closed for part of the day, your reported sessions of care must align with your opening hours.

If you close your service, you must not submit session reports unless it is a public holiday or during a period of emergency where your service would have been otherwise open.