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Your first step into early childhood education & care

A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE CHILD CARE SUBSIDY aims to help new parents with their first steps into education and care. A topic that’s always of interest is the subsidies the Australian Government provides to families.

The Child Care Subsidy started on 2 July 2018 and is a single, means-tested subsidy paid directly to your child’s education and care service.

You are eligible if you earn less than $354,305 in combined family income and are undertaking one or more of the following activities for at least 8 hours a fortnight: paid work (includes if you are currently on leave), self-employment, unpaid work in a family business, unpaid work experience or unpaid internship, looking for work, volunteering, training or studying.

You can find information on the recognised activities and tips to update your activity details on the Services Australia website. There are also exemptions for parents who cannot meet the activity requirements.

How much subsidy you receive depends on:

  • your family’s combined income – this is used to calculate the percentage of child care fees you receive a subsidy for
  • the type of care your child is attending – the maximum subsidy you receive per hour depends on the type of care
  • the number of hours you are undertaking the activities outlined above – this is used to calculate the number of hours you can claim the subsidy for.

The following tables are based on the Services Australia figures for 2021–2022.

Your combined family income and the subsidy you receive:

Combined family income Child Care Subsidy percentage
$0 to $70,015 85%
Above $70,015 to below $175,015 Between 85% and 50%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$175,015 to below $254,305 50%  
$254,305 to below $344,305 Between 50% and 20%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$344,305 to below $354,305 20%
$354,305 or more 0%

The maximum subsidy you receive per hour depends on the type of education and care your child attends.

Type of child care Hourly rate cap
Centre Based Day Care – long day care and occasional care  $12.31
Family Day Care $11.40
Outside School Hours Care – before, after and vacation care $10.77
In Home Care $33.47 per family

In some cases your child’s age will mean there is a different hourly rate cap applied.

Age of your child and the type of child care Hourly rate cap we'll apply
School aged and in Centre Based Day Care Outside School Hours Care
Below school age and in Outside School Hours Care Centre Based Day Care

As mentioned on the Services Australia website, a school aged child is a child who is either:

  • in school, including being home schooled
  • 6 or older.

The first year of recognised primary school depends on the state or territory you live in.

The number of hours you can claim the subsidy for depends on the number of hours you undertake one of the activities outlined above.

If you have a partner, the number of hours is calculated according to the parent with the lowest hours of activity each fortnight. The hours of subsidised child care you can access per fortnight applies to each child.

Hours of activity per fortnight Hours of subsidised care each fortnight
Less than 8 hours 0 hours if you earn above $70,015
24 hours if you earn $70,015 or below
More than 8 to 16 hours               36 hours
More than 16 to 48 hours 72 hours
More than 48 hours 100 hours             

More information

The Services Australia website has detailed information on the Child Care Subsidy. Visit