Following on from the update on attendance rules that issued via the e-bulletin last month, please find bellow a copy of a letter that will be sent to all parents registered with NCS. Regards,
The Early Years Team
We are writing to you to remind you of the attendance rules for the National Childcare Scheme (NCS), and in particular the flexibility under the Scheme to support families when there are occasional changes to your child’s attendance pattern.
We recognise that there will be occasions where your child’s attendance is less than your registered hours. This could be due to illness, appointments, early collections and late drop offs. Picking your child up early every now and then has no effect on your subsidy, and childcare providers will routinely round up your child’s daily attendance to the nearest full hour. Missing a day due to illness every now and then or taking 2 weeks holiday will not affect your subsidy.
For more information read on:
My Registered Hours
When your NCS application was approved, you received a unique CHICK code, along with a maximum number of weekly hours that the subsidy will be paid. This is the code you took to your childcare provider.
NCS is designed to be flexible. For example, a subsidy covering up to 20 hours can be used for four half-day sessions (8am – 1pm) or could be used for two full-day sessions (8am-6pm).
You can use the subsidised hours in a way that best suits your family needs and the sessions your chosen childcare provider is offering.
When you registered, both you and the provider will have confirmed how many hours you planned to use. It is important that this reflects the hours your child will actually be attending childcare. For example, if you are entitled to the maximum 45 hour a week subsidy but you know your child will be attending for 30 hours a week, you should ask your childcare provider to register for 30 hours. When you are confirming the registration, you must make sure the hours your provider has registered are correct.
Occasionally using different hours
Subsidies will only be reduced if your child is continuously absent from a service, or not using the agreed hours for a prolonged period.
- Continuously absent means 4 weeks or more (with some exceptions for prolonged illness and certain other exceptional events).
- Not using agreed hours for a prolonged period means not using the hours you agreed every week for 8 weeks or more, at which point the provider will be notified and will alert you.
- If the reduced hours were temporary and you return to your registered hours within the next four weeks, then you don’t have to do anything.
- If the hours used don’t return to those registered within this time period, then after 12 weeks of using fewer hours than your registration, the number of hours that can be claimed will be capped to reflect the number of hours actually attended on average in the previous 12 weeks. This will only affect your subsidy from this point on however, no money will be reclaimed from you or the provider for the initial 12 week period.
Permanently using different hours
If you plan to continue using these reduced hours in the future, you should inform your childcare provider so they can update your registration.
If you require more hours at certain times of the year up to the maximum hours allowed – for example, your child is in ECCE or school and you want to increase hours during mid-terms and summer holidays – this is allowed on the scheme, once it is agreed with your provider. It is important to note that only hours when the child is not in ECCE or school can be claimed for under the NCS.
We hope that this information proves useful, but if you have any further questions please contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 for further advice.