Childcare absences

When your child is away from the childcare centre (eg, they're sick), we may be able to keep paying the childcare provider.

  • Absence due to COVID-19

    If your child is absent due to COVID-19, we may be able to continue to pay childcare assistance.

    For example, they could be:

    • sick with COVID-19 and cannot attend childcare
    • at high risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19, based on Ministry of Health guidelines
    • in self-isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 public health requirements
    • connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.

    Your provider will let us know if your child is absent due to COVID-19.

  • Absence not due to COVID-19

    If your child is absent for a non-COVID-19 related reason, we may be able to continue to pay childcare assistance. It depends how long they’re absent for.

    Absences of fewer than 3 weeks

    If your child is going to be away for a short time, you don't need to do anything. We'll pay the childcare provider while your child is absent.

    Absences of more than 3 weeks

    If your child is going to be away for longer than 3 weeks, they must have a medical reason.

    You'll need to:

    • let your childcare provider know
    • get a medical certificate (unless you get Child Disability Allowance or Group Special Education Funding).

    We can keep paying for your child's place at the programme for up to 6 weeks when a medical certificate is provided. You can email the medical certificate to us at Centralised_Childcare_Reviews@msd.govt.nz

    Absence from New Zealand

    We may be able to continue to pay for childcare for up to 28 days if you're going overseas. But this is only possible if you let us know before you go. We'll assess it on a case by case basis.

    Call us before you leave NZ on 0800 559 009 and tell us:

    • the date you're leaving
    • when you're returning
    • reason for travel
    • whether your child is travelling with you or staying in New Zealand.

    If you don't tell us you're going overseas, your childcare payments may stop and you might have to pay back some of your childcare payments for the time you were overseas. This applies whether you're on a benefit or not.

  • Getting Early Learning Payment or Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment

    If your childcare provider does not charge an absence fee, you need to let us know what dates your child is absent.

    You can do this by calling us on 0800 559 009. This is so we can adjust the payments to your provider.