Provider obligations

Early childhood education and care providers must comply with the rules under Family Assistance Law (FAL). On this page you’ll find out more about what you need to do to comply with FAL.

On this page:

The law

Family Assistance Law sets the rules for administering Child Care Subsidy (CCS). Providers must be familiar with and comply with the law.

You must also ensure your services, relevant staff and educators comply with their obligations under Family Assistance Law.

Find out more about Family Assistance Law

Find out more about Child Care Subsidy

Obligations

Providers have a range of obligations under Family Assistance Law. We regularly check providers are fulfilling their obligations and take compliance action when they’re not.

Persons with management or control

Providers have specific legal obligations. These obligations are completed by certain people. We call these people ‘persons with management or control of the provider’. They are also called ‘persons with management or control’ or simply ‘PMC’.

Learn about PMCs and their obligations

Fit and proper requirements

Certain people at a service must be considered by us to be ‘fit and proper’ to handle public money.

Learn about fit and proper requirements

Background checks

Certain people at a service must have background checks. Providers must have evidence of these checks. In some cases, providers must report the details of the checks to us.

Learn about mandatory background checks

All educators and some PMCs must have a working with children check.

Working with children checks are issued by state and territory governments. However, providers have specific reporting obligations under Family Assistance Law.

Learn about working with children checks

Offering inducements

An inducement is an incentive offered by a provider to secure a child’s enrolment. Early childhood education and care providers may offer only certain types of inducements.

Find out more about offering inducements

Collecting gap fees

Families who get CCS must make a co-contribution to their early childhood education and care fees. They do this by paying the gap fee.

Find out more about CCS payments and gap fees

Families must pay the gap fee using electronic funds transfer, or EFT.

Find out more about electronic payment of gap fees

Providers must take all reasonable steps to collect gap fees from families using EFT.

Find out more about taking all reasonable steps to collect gap fees

Reporting to the department

Providers must submit accurate session reports on time – it’s the law. Services Australia uses session reports to calculate and process CCS payments.

Find out more about session reporting

Providers must report a range of other matters to the department, within set timeframes, to maintain approval.

Find out more about what you must tell the department

Large providers have additional reporting requirements. They must report financial information, including information about revenue, profits, and leasing arrangements.

Find out more about financial reporting obligations for large providers

Consequences

We may take compliance action if you fail to meet your obligations. Compliance action could include:

  • putting conditions on your approval
  • issuing an infringement
  • suspending or cancelling your approval.

The actions we take will depend on:

  • the severity of the non-compliance
  • your past behaviour or compliance history
  • your response to any earlier non-compliance action
  • overall trends of non-compliance in the sector.

Find out more about infringements

Find out more about suspension of approvals

Resources

Child Care Provider Handbook

The Child Care Provider Handbook outlines the legal requirements and responsibilities of running a child care service.

Compliance videos

Watch a series of short videos on key compliance topics to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

Online learning

Geccko is our online learning platform for the early childhood education and care sector. It’s designed to help you comply with your obligations under Family Assistance Law.

Learn more about Geccko

Keeping the system fair

Send a tip-off

If you think a child care service is doing something illegal or fraudulent or is trying to get an unfair advantage, you can tell us anonymously.

Illegal activities include:

  • not complying with reporting and administration obligations
  • not providing appropriate staff or conditions
  • operating without proper registration, including the type of service provided.

Call 1800 664 231 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (AEST) or send an email to tipoffline@education.gov.au.

Providing information to the department

You may get a section 158 notice if we think you have information, documents or records that will help us administer Family Assistance Law.

A section 158 notice is a legal document requiring you to provide us with information.

Learn what to do if you get a section 158 notice

Information sharing and data matching

Most providers do the right thing. There are a few who exploit government programs by claiming payments they aren’t entitled to.

We work with other agencies, like the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and law enforcement, to deal with suspected:

  • non-compliance
  • collusion
  • fraud
  • criminal activities.

When we collaborate with these agencies we:

  • exchange data
  • share intelligence and information
  • engage in joint activities
  • share referrals, tip-offs and compliance outcomes.

We also participate in the ATO’s Government Payments Program. The program ensures service providers getting government payments are meeting their tax and superannuation obligations.

Visit the ATO Government Payments Program website for details and view the data matching protocol.

Compliance pilot project

We are stepping up our efforts to detect and prevent child care fraud. Throughout 2022 and 2023, we are partnering with authorities in NSW and Victoria on a compliance pilot project.

Child Care Enforcement Action Register

The Child Care Enforcement Action Register lists services that have been penalised for breaking the law.