Fees, Funding, and Financial Assistance
“We are not charged when it’s closed statutory holidays and term breaks. This is just as well because I can’t work and earn during those times”.
“When my child turned three, we were asked if we wanted to sign up for the 20-Hours ECE. We were told it would mean a discount and so for 21 hours of care we would pay $80. But I was under the understanding that the first 20 hours was free and that any charges were optional?”
Fees and funding
ECE services can set their own fees policy. However, families have a right to question fees and any other charges. The Ministry of Education sets some rules around what families can be charged.
The Government purchases 20-Hours of ECE on behalf of children 3 to 5 years of age whose families sign up to the scheme. Services are not allowed to charge parents for the first 20 hours of care but may request parents pay an optional charge for any extras such as cooked lunches. Services are also subsidised for up to 30 hours per child of any age per week, or an additional 10 hours if the child is already on 20-Hours ECE.
Go to more information on early childhood education funding rates and grants paid to services. If you are interested in how much your service earns per hour for your child, you can roughly calculate this by adding the hourly funding rate to what you pay the service.
Other charges and costs
Services may have additional charges, such as a pre-enrolment fee and/or a bond - check if this is refundable or not. Contentiously, some services charge parents for care when they are closed for statutory holidays or for reasons outside of the parents control. Some services charge parents a penalty fee if they are late picking up their child even by a few minutes. Learn more about early childhood centre and home-based service charges and fees.
You may be eligible for a WINZ Childcare Subsidy for up to 50 hours a week depending on your household income level, if you are in paid employment, in training, are ill or disabled, caring for a child in hospital, or caring for a child for whom you get a disability allowance.
If you are not in paid employment, studying or in training you may be able to access a subsidy for up 9 hours a week. Find out more on the WINZ childcare subsidy.