Most early childhood centres close for public holidays, such as Good Friday and Labour Day.
Home-based services are sometimes a bit more flexible and will allow children to attend if parents have to work on a public holiday and need childcare.
Many services also take additional days off, such at Christmas time to give staff, parents and children a break.
Many services do not charge families for care when they are closed.
Some services charge because they say they need to in order to be be able pay staff holiday pay, and they have ongoing bills such as rent to pay. However, the best practice among ECE services is to absorb or spread out the cost of holiday pay for staff over the fees for all families and not charge for care when closed.
Businesses such as cafes that open on a Public Holiday may add a surcharge but it is not known for any early childhood service to do this.
According to the Ministry of Education, whether or not a service can make parents and caregivers pay for care not provided on a recognised public holiday comes down to the enrolment form.
If a parent has agreed and signed on the enrolment form that he/she will pay for care on any particular days when the service is closed then the service legally can charge. It comes down to the individual service's fees policy and what the parent has agreed to when signing up.
It also makes a difference if you child is on the 20-Hour Funding scheme. The Ministry of Education specifies that services cannot charge fees when closed for hours that are normally covered by the 20-Hour subsidy.
The Ministry of Education does not fund services for holidays
The Ministry recognises that statutory holidays are holidays and will not pay funding to services on public holidays when not providing care to children.
Advice to parents
Check before signing the enrolment agreement if the service is going to charge you for care when it is closed for holidays.
- You can ask the service about this and it is up to you whether you sign that you agree or cross out the days of closure listed that you do not agree to still be charged fees for.
- You can choose to change your enrolment to a different service that does not charge for care not provided, or, you can accept and build this cost into your childcare budget.
Most public holidays fall on a Monday and some on Tuesdays and Fridays. So if you do not need full-time care and if you have a choice of days consider enrolling your child for Wednesdays and Thursdays only.