On Monday this week (23.8.21) I reported on the relaxations, in restrictions, for Authorised Workers (including many lawyers) trying to look after their children, whilst working. However, just a few days later, there have been further changes, so that parents can only access ‘child-minding’ for children under school age. This is with effect from the beginning of Friday 27 August 2021. (How is a parent juggling kids and work going to even be aware of this change, much less live with it …?)

See below for further details.

[Tax Month – August 2021]

 


 

On Monday this week (23.8.21) I reported on the relaxations of ‘child-minding’ and more formal ‘childcare or early childhood services’ together with ‘education services’. This came about when the ‘Stay at Home Directions (Victoria)‘ Numbers 5 & 6, each replaced their predecessor, in quick succession. The gist of the relief was that it was sufficient for just one of two parents, to be an ‘Authorised Worker’, to be able to access assistance with their children. I reported on this, as it was of some moment, to lawyers, many of whom are ‘Authorised Workers’, depending on their duties.

However, new stay at home regulations were made: Stay at Home Directions (Victoria) (No 7), replaced (No 6), commencing on the beginning of Friday 27 August 2021. The key change was to introduce a new section 7A, dedicated to ‘child-minding’. Section s8(3) continued to operate, for ‘early childhood services’, as they had with the No. 6 Directions. Section 8(4) continued to operate, in a similar way, for ‘education services’. Both of these are for formally approved services, under relevant legislation.

The problem is that the new s7A limits access to informal ‘child-minding’ – either at the residence where the child lives, or at the residence of the person who will do the ‘child-minding’. This would have been fine, except that the permission, is only available ‘where the child, children or young person is younger than primary school age“.

This is a real problem, as the need for ‘child-minding’ goes on, into school age, at least whilst schools are shut – forcing parents to ‘home school’ their children.

Apparently, this limitation on ‘child-minding’ was not mentioned at the media statements on Thursday 26 August 2021 – when the No. 7 Directions were made.

The Victorian Bar, however, was alert to this, and the President advised members of this, by email on Friday 27.8.21.

I’m reporting this, for all Authorised Workers, who need ‘child-minding’ after their children are old enough to go to school.

I’ve set out relevant portions of the No. 7 Directions below.

[DHHS – Covid Directions; Covid Victoria website: Authorised Worker / Provider list]

Stay at Home Directions (Victoria) (No 7)

The primary prohibition

A.  Staying at home

5      Direction — staying at home other than in specified circumstances

Requirement to stay at home

(1)   During the stay at home period:

(a)   an ordinary resident of the State of Victoria; or …

must not leave the premises where they are residing in the State of Victoria, other than for one or more of the reasons specified in:

(d)   clause 7 (care or other compassionate reasons)

(e)   clause 7A (care or compassionate reasons: child minding);

(f)   clause 8 (work or education);

B.  Leaving home

11   Restrictions on gatherings

(2)   During the stay at home period, an ordinary resident of the State of Victoria …must not permit another person to enter the premises at which they ordinarily reside or temporarily reside (whether or not entering any building on the premises).

(3)   Subclauses (1) and (2) do not prevent any person entering the premises;

(b)   if it is necessary for the person to enter the premises for one or more of the purposes specified in:

(ii)   clause 7(1) (care or other compassionate reasons), subparagraphs (a), (b)(i)-(ii) [not applicable], (c), (f), (g), (i), (j), (l) or (n) or clause 7A (care or compassionate reasons: child minding); or

(iv)   clause 8 (work or education), to attend or undertake work or to provide or receive educational services; …

Permissions for ‘childcare’, ‘early childhood services’ and ‘education services’

7.   Leaving premises … for care or other compassionate reasons

(1)   The reasons relating to care or compassion are:

(b)   if the person is a parent or guardian of a child (with or without that child):

(iii)   to take the child to:

(A)   a ‘childcare or early childhood service’ in accordance with clause 8(3);

(B)   a school or outside school hours care service in which they are enrolled in accordance with clause 8(4) [ should be (5) – not (4)???];

7A.   Leaving premises … for care or compassionate reasons: child minding [NEW]

(1)  The reasons relating to care or compassion in relation to child minding are to:

(a)   take a child, children or young person to another person’s premises; or

(b)   allow a person to enter the parent or guardian’s premises,

where a child, children or young person is not able to be cared for at the premises by a suitable adult, for the purpose of that other person providing child-minding assistance (whether on a paid or voluntary basis):

(d)   so that the parent or guardian:

(i)   can undertake work as an authorised worker or for an authorised provider in accordance with clause 8(1)(a), where the child, children or young person is younger than primary school age; or …

8.   Leaving premises … to attend work or education

(1)  The reasons relating to work or education are:

(a)   … ; or

(b)   to obtain a ‘childcare or early childhood service’ provided in subclause (3); or

(c)   to obtain educational services provided in subclause (4) [ should be (5) – not (4)???].

(3)   A person may leave the premises under subclause (1)(b) [‘childcare early childhood services’] only:

(a)   if it is not reasonably practicable for the person to obtain a childcare or early childhood service from the premises where they ordinarily reside; and

(b)   for childcare or early childhood services, if the child, children or young person:

(i)   has:

(A)   two parents or guardians and one of them is ; or

(B)   a single parent or guardian and that parent or guardian is:

an authorised worker or work for an authorised provider and holds an Authorised Worker Permit; and

(C)   is not working from the premises and is unable to make alternative supervision arrangements for that child, children or young person [who is] leaving the premises to attend childcare or early childhood services; or

(D)   is working from the premises and is unable to make alternative supervision arrangements for that child, children or young person [who is] leaving the premises to attend childcare or early childhood services; or

(4)   [educational services] A person who is an exception to holding a current Authorised Worker Permit pursuant to clause 5 subclauses (6) and (7) of the Workplace Directions is not required to present an Authorised Worker Permit to a childcare or early childhood service provider, provided they … [(6) applies on first visit to first visit to get Authorised Work Permit, work on short notice, exceptional circumstances etc… (7) applies to listed persons: eg. Police, ADF, ambulance drivers, emergency workers, judges, ]

(5)   A person may leave the premises [parent leaving home or helper leaving their home] under subclause (1)(c) [‘educational services’] only:

(a)   if it is not reasonably practicable for the child, children or young person to obtain educational services from the premises where they ordinarily reside; and

(b)   for school educational services (including at a school or non-school senior secondary provider and outside school hours, care services), if the child, children or young person:

(i)   has:

(A)   two parents or guardians and one of them is ; or

(B)   a single parent or guardian and that parent or guardian is:

an authorised worker or work for an authorised provider and holds an Authorised Worker Permit; and

(C)   is not working from the premises and is unable to make alternative supervision arrangements, for that child, children or young person leaving the premises to attend childcare or early childhood services;

(ii)   is a vulnerable child or young person; or

(iii)  is a secondary school student attending an assessment that is approved to proceed on site as specified in the Authorised Provider and Authorised Worker List; and

(c)   for higher education services, if it is in relation to final year assessments for Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency regulated courses where the students do not have alternative options to complete the study by the end of the year.

[28.8.21]

 

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