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ECE services should contact their local Ministry of Education office for assistance when deciding to offer 20 Hours ECE.
There is also a range of online resources which ECE services can work through in their own time. These include:
No, the Ministry does not interfere in ECE services’ enrolment policies. ECE services are required to have policies relating to governance and management, including enrolment and complaints. ECE services should discuss their enrolment policy with parents to prevent misunderstanding, and should ensure that their policies are non-discriminatory.
If parents do not have to pay ECE services or anyone else to access ECE through an ECE service, then the ECE service can claim 20 Hours ECE.
If parents have to pay someone else to access ECE through an ECE service (e.g. a home-based ECE service, where parents pay an educator rather than the ECE service), then the ECE service cannot claim 20 Hours ECE until they ensure that parents do not have to pay for 20 Hours ECE.
Playcentres need to make that choice. The Playcentre Federation asked to be included in the 20 Hours ECE policy and this was granted by Government, effective from 1 July 2010.
ECE services can choose to start offering 20 Hours ECE at any time. ECE services 'opt in' to 20 Hours ECE by claiming hours of 20 Hours ECE funding.
If your ECE service is claiming 20 Hours ECE you need to ensure it meets all the 20 Hours ECE rules for the whole of that time. You must have current signed Enrolment Agreement Forms and 20 Hours ECE attestations for every child your ECE service is claiming this funding for.
More information on how to start 20 Hours ECE can be found in the question: "How do ECE services receive their first 20 Hours ECE funding?" below.
20 Hours ECE can be claimed from the day a parent has a completed and signed an Enrolment Agreement Form and attestation for 20 Hours ECE in place for their child. 20 Hours ECE cannot be claimed retrospectively.
Where a child is eligible to receive 20 Hours ECE, is attending a participating 20 Hours ECE service and has a completed and signed attestation, the service will claim the 20 Hours ECE funding rate, instead of the ECE Funding Subsidy rate, for up to 6 hours per day, up to 20 hours per week, per child.
Where the child attends for additional hours over and above the 20 Hours ECE hours, the Plus 10 ECE funding rate is claimed for up to 10 hours per week (i.e. a combined maximum across 20 Hours ECE and Plus 10 ECE of 6 hours a day and 30 hours per week).
Plus 10 ECE funding is paid at the same rate as the ‘2 and over’ ECE Funding Subsidy. Plus 10 ECE has a different name because the eligible hours are counted differently.
The ECE Funding Subsidy is available for up to 6 hours per child place per day; but the Plus 10 ECE funding is available for up to 6 hours per child per day, and is only for children who are receiving 20 Hours ECE at an ECE service.
An ECE service might claim 20 Hours ECE in advance or after beginning to provide 20 Hours ECE, according to what suits it best.
By completing the 20 Hours ECE funding advance claim (EC20) form some ECE services can choose to be funded in advance for their first 20 Hours ECE claim. Playcentres and kōhanga reo have agreed not to apply for this advance funding for 20 Hours ECE. ECE services may opt in at any time but can only receive an initial advance payment on a regular funding cycle payment date (1 March, 1 July or 1 November).
More information about funding and advances can be found in the ECE Funding Handbook and in the Self Paced Learning Module "Understanding 20 Hours ECE".
When a casual child is replacing an absent child who is receiving 20 Hours ECE and an ECE service continues to claim 20 Hours ECE funding in respect of the absence, the ECE service may not charge fees for the casual enrolment. Alternatively the ECE service could charge a fee and claim the ECE Funding Subsidy for the absent child. See the ECE Funding Handbook for more information on absences.
The requirements for funding, including absences are included in the ECE Funding Handbook. When an ECE service is no longer able to claim 20 Hours ECE for a child the ECE service may charge fees to retain the child place.
If a child is enrolled in more than one ECE service, their parent can split their 20 Hours ECE between the ECE services, or choose to allocate all hours to one ECE service.
This may mean that even if a child is enrolled for less than twenty hours at your ECE service, all their enrolled hours may not be able to be claimed as 20 Hours ECE. This is of particular importance to sessional ECE services such as Playcentres that operate for less than 20 hours per week.
Yes, parents can split the up to 20 hours into amounts that are less than a full hour. For example, in one day a child may receive 2 and ¼ hours at Service A and 3 and ¾ hours and Service B, which is under the maximum of 6 hours per day. For ECE services processing their funding claims at the end of each funding period, they will add up all their Funded Child Hours (including part hours) and then round the total.
If a child opts out of receiving 20 Hours ECE at your ECE service, even though they are still attending and eligible to receive 20 Hours ECE, you should ensure the Enrolment Agreement Form is changed so that it accurately records the date that they stopped receiving 20 Hours ECE.
This situation might occur if a child changes to using the Childcare Subsidy, or if parents decide to attest their hours of 20 Hours ECE to a different service.
If an ECE service decides to stop providing 20 Hours ECE, it would stop claiming 20 Hours ECE on its RS7 form.
We recommend you discuss that decision with parents well before the date you stop offering 20 Hours ECE. This will give parents the opportunity to review their budget to see if they can cover the additional fees as they will no longer receive 20 Hours ECE from your ECE service.
Any advance 20 Hours ECE funding your ECE service might have received would be reconciled in the next funding payment.
The 28 day rule is no longer applicable because all five year olds are now eligible for 20 Hours ECE until they attend school. As children are legally required to be enrolled in and attending school by their sixth birthday, this rule cannot be applied in the same manner to six year olds.
The 28 day rule for five year olds still applies to Work and Income’s Childcare Subsidy. More information on the Childcare Subsidy can be found on the Working for Families website or by calling 0800 559 009.
20 Hours ECE Attestation Forms are no longer in print, as these separate forms are no longer required. The attestation information can now be included in your service’s Enrolment Agreement Form. A sample Enrolment Agreement Form (which has all the required information) can be found on the Lead website.
Parent Information Booklets are no longer in print, however, the replacement document: ‘20 Hours ECE Information for Parents’ is available on the Parents section of the Ministry of Education website, and ECE services are encouraged to print this document to provide to parents.
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Last updated: 16 May 2013
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