ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 311(5) of the Education Act 1989. The funding paid to licensed services is paid subject to the terms and conditions set out under this Handbook and must be complied with. The terms used in this Handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

This Handbook is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • Equity Funding
  • the Annual Top-Up for Isolated Services

Note: The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups. These services should contact their Ministry regional office for further information.

Downloading the ECE Funding Handbook

If you want a printed copy of this handbook, refer to the list of downloads in the contents section where you will find downloadable PDF versions of each chapter.

ECE Funding Handbook downloads

Licensing Criteria Cover

4-2 Funding conditions

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  • Introduction
    • Funding for 20 Hours ECE is attached to each eligible child’s enrolment, rather than to a licensed child-place. Funding is made up of 20 Hours ECE and Plus 10 ECE.

  • 20 Hours ECE
    • 20 Hours ECE hours are the funded child hours that services can claim per eligible child for the provision of 20 Hours ECE.

      Services are eligible to claim up to six hours per child per day, to a maximum of 20 hours per child per week.

  • Plus 10 ECE
    • Plus 10 ECE describes the remaining 10 hours of funding a service can claim for each child in addition to the 20 Hours ECE hours. It is the difference between 30 hours ECE Subsidy funding and the 20 Hours ECE hours.

      For more information on the ECE Subsidy see Chapter 3 of this Handbook.

  • Maximum funding
    • Services may claim a maximum of:

      • six hours funding per day for 20 Hours ECE and/or Plus 10 per eligible child
      • 20 hours per week for 20 Hours ECE per eligible child
      • 30 hours per week for 20 Hours ECE and Plus 10 per eligible child.

      Out of those 30 hours weekly maximum per child, 20 hours per week may be claimed as 20 Hours ECE. The remaining hours up to 30 may be claimed as Plus 10 ECE funding.

  • Example 1: weekly
    • The following table shows the number of 20 Hours ECE hours and Plus 10 ECE hours per week that may be claimed for children with different enrolment agreements:

       NameHours enrolledTotal hours enrolled per week20 Hours ECE hours claimedPlus 10
      ECE hours
      claimed
      Erin 8 hours per day 40 20 10
      Melanie 4 hours per day 20 20  
      Hayden
      • 8 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
      • 4.5 hours on Thursday and Friday
      33 20 7
  • Example 2: daily
    • The table below shows how parents could choose to allocate the 20 Hours ECE hours daily across a week:

      • Erin attends 8 hours per day, Monday to Friday.
      • Melanie attends 4 hours per day, Monday to Friday.
      • Hayden attends 8 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and 4.5 hours on Thursday and Fridays.
       ErinMonTueWedThuFriTotal
      Hours enrolled 8 8 8 8 8 40
      20 Hours ECE hours 4 4 4 4 4 20
      Plus 10 ECE hours 2 2 2 2 2 10
      Difference: DO NOT CLAIM 2 2 2 2 2 10
      MelanieMonTueWedThuFriTotal
      Hours enrolled 4 4 4 4 4 20
      20 Hours ECE hours 4 4 4 4 4 20
      Plus 10 ECE hours            
       HaydenMonTueWedThuFriTotal
      Hours enrolled 8 8 8 4.5 4.5 33
      20 Hours ECE hours 6 6 6 2   20
      Plus 10 ECE hours       2.5 4.5 7
  • Sharing child places
    • Children may share a child-place during the day.

      In this situation, services may claim up to six hours 20 Hours ECE Funding per eligible child plus up to six hours ECE Subsidy Funding per child-place.

  • Example of sharing child places
    • The following example shows how a service could claim funding where a child receiving 20 Hours ECE shares a child-place with an Under Two child.

      • Melanie is receiving 20 Hours ECE and is enrolled for five hours on Monday to Friday, from 8am to 1pm.
      • Erin is one-year-old and is enrolled for four hours on Monday to Friday, from 1pm to 5pm.
       ChildHoursMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
      Erin Under 2 hours 4 4 4 4 4
      Melanie 20 Hours 5 5 5 5  
        Plus 10 ECE hours         5
        Total hours claimed per day 9 9 9 9 9
  • 2.5 hour sessions
    • Sessional services that offer 2.5 hour sessions may claim funding for 3 hours for those sessions.

      20 Hours ECE hours may be claimed for the first 2.5 hours. Services must claim Plus 10 ECE hours for the remaining half hour.

  • Claiming for 20 Hours ECE absences
    • The absence rules in Chapter 6 apply to 20 Hours ECE funding.

      Services must not charge fees for hours that they claim as 20 Hours ECE. If a service claims 20 Hours ECE funding under an absence rule, the service must not charge fees for any conditional or casual child who directly fills that place. If the service charges a fee, it must claim the ECE Funding Subsidy.

      This will occur only when the service is filled to its maximum capacity and the casual child is directly replacing an absent child who is claiming 20 Hours ECE.

  • 20 Hours ECE Attestation
    • An Attestation included in the enrolment agreement must be signed for each child receiving 20 Hours ECE. 20 Hours ECE funding must not be claimed for a child until the service has received a completed and signed Attestation.

      Parents must confirm the total hours per day of 20 Hours ECE the child will receive at the service and any other service the child is enrolled to attend.

      Enrolment details and records must be kept up-to-date. Parents must notify services and change the enrolment details if there is a change to the number of hours of 20 Hours ECE their child receives at any service.

  • Using 20 Hours ECE hours at more than one service
    • Parents may choose to allocate their 20 Hours ECE hours across more than one service.

      A child can receive a maximum of six 20 Hours ECE hours per day and twenty 20 Hours ECE hours per week as a total across all services.

      The enrolment details will indicate if, and for how many hours, a child is receiving 20 Hours ECE at another service. This will tell each service how many 20 Hours ECE hours can be claimed for each child.

      Each service may still claim up to 30 hours of funding per child per week, but funding must not be claimed for the same hours. The remaining hours once the 20 Hours ECE hours are used up may be claimed as Plus 10 ECE hours.

  • Example
    • Caleb is enrolled in a home-based service from 7.45am to 3.45pm on Mondays and Fridays, and 7.45am to 12.45pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. He is also enrolled in kindergarten from 12.45 to 3.45pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. His parents choose to allocate 20 Hours ECE hours to both the home-based service and the kindergarten. This might look like:

       Home-basedMonTueWedThuFriTotal
      Hours enrolled 8 5 5 5 8 31
      20 Hours ECE hours 2 4 4 4   14
      Plus 10 ECE hours 4 1 1 1 6 13
       KindergartenMonTueWedThuFriTotal
      Hours enrolled   3 3 3   9
      20 Hours ECE hours   2 2 2   6
      Plus 10 ECE hours    1 1 1   3
      Total 20 Hours ECE hours 2 6 6 6   20