COVID-19 Childcare Centre absences and closures

We may be able to continue to make childcare payments even if a child is not able to attend childcare right now.

Childcare payments include:

  • Childcare Subsidy
  • OSCAR Subsidy
  • Early Learning Payment
  • Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment.

When we can continue to make childcare payments

We can continue to pay childcare assistance if either:

  • your childcare centre has to temporarily close due to COVID-19, for example, it:
    • is connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 and has been instructed to close
    • is not able to operate safely and within public health guidelines,
    • temporarily does not have any children needing childcare because of COVID-19, or
  • a child is absent due to COVID-19, for example, they are:
    • 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.

In all cases, the parents or caregivers must still qualify for the childcare assistance payment.

Childcare centres can open at all traffic light settings, as long as they follow public health guidelines.

How much we'll pay

We’ll continue to pay childcare assistance at the same rate, unless there’s a change in the parent’s circumstances that affects their entitlement. For example, their:

  • hours of work
  • income.

If the parent gets Early Learning Payment or Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment, we need to know if you charge an absence fee.

  • If you do, payment will be based on the child's enrolled hours and the hourly fee charged.
  • If you don't, payments continue as usual.

How to tell us about closures and absences

You need to continue to tell us about any closures and absences as you usually do, whether it’s COVID-19 related or not.

How you tell us depends on what payments you're getting.

Getting Childcare or OSCAR Subsidy

You need to fill out our online form

Getting Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment

You can email us at childcareproviders@msd.govt.nz

Getting Early Learning Payment

You can email us at ELP@MSD.govt.nz