Young children will be allowed an extra 20 absent days before their parents lose government subsidies on childcare fees as part of the response to coronavirus.
The government has made the move in recognition many parents are keeping their children home as part of recommended social distancing measures.
Families can now have a total of 62 unexplained absences for this financial year, and won’t have to produce medical evidence if a child is absent for coronavirus-related reasons.
There are 69 business days left in the financial year.
If centres are forced to close because of a virus outbreak or wider shutdowns they won’t have to charge parents for those days, but the government will continue to pay fee subsidies.
“The current expert medical advice is that the child care sector remains open except where individual services have been directed to close by health authorities,” Education Minister Dan Tehan said on Wednesday.
“The health and safety of all Australians is our number one priority, and that includes the 1.3 million children in child care, and 200,000 staff working in the child care sector.”
The minister currently has the discretion to further increase the number of absences allowed each year.