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

6-4 Absence rules

A symbol.  Books.  Checklist.

  • Introduction
    • Absence rules allow services to claim funding for hours that permanently enrolled children do not attend, providing that certain conditions are met.

      Absence rules recognise that absences do occur and services should not be unreasonably penalised because of this.

  • Claiming funding for absences
    • Funding can only be claimed for the absence of a permanently enrolled child if the situation falls within one of the following absence rules:

      • Three Week Rule for Continuous Absence (Section 6-5).
      • Three Week Rule: extension for extended non-operation (Section 6-6), or
      • The Frequent Absence Rule (Section 6-7).

      Please refer to the Glossary for more information about permanent enrolments.

  • Funding for casual or conditional children
    • Services may claim funding for children who attend casually or conditionally.

      Funding for conditional or casual children is based on attendance only. Services must not claim for conditional or casual children who book for a session or day and do not attend.

      In the event of a funding claim audit, funding claimed for casual children who did not attend will be recovered by the Ministry.

      Please refer to the Glossary for more information about casual and conditional enrolments.

  • Claiming 20 Hours ECE and absence
    • Services must not claim 20 Hours ECE funding for an absence and charge fees to a conditional or casual child who directly fills the absent child’s place.

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

      Where a 20 Hours ECE child is absent and that child's place is filled with a conditional or casual child who has been charged fees, the service must claim subsidy funding, not 20 Hours ECE funding.