ECE Funding Handbook
Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link). 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
6-7 The Frequent Absence Rule
The Frequent Absence Rule ensures that enrolment agreements match attendance patterns as closely as possible, so that funding can be delivered fairly and accurately.
- explains the Frequent Absence Rule and
- describes when and how to apply the Frequent Absence Rule.
For examples of the Frequent Absence Rule, please refer to Section 6-8.
Frequent Absence Rule
A child’s attendance must match their enrolment agreement for at least half (i.e. 50 per cent or more) of each calendar month.
Enrolment agreements can become outdated. Parents or guardians might not notify services when their child’s attendance will be changing, or attendance patterns may evolve over time.
The Frequent Absence Rule helps services identify absence patterns that suggest a change in enrolment may be needed. By keeping enrolment agreements up-to-date, services can ensure that their funding is calculated accurately.
When to apply the Frequent Absence Rule
The Frequent Absence Rule must be applied in these three situations:
- when a child is absent on the same enrolled day or days of the week for more than half of these days in a calendar month or
- when a child attends for fewer days per week than they are enrolled to attend, in more than half of the weeks in a calendar month or
- when a child attends fewer hours than they are enrolled to attend, on a daily basis, on more than half of their enrolled days in a calendar month. Note: this does not apply to sessional services.
How to apply the Frequent Absence Rule
To apply the Frequent Absence Rule, you must check child attendance patterns at the end of each month.
Follow the instructions in this table (and the examples on the following pages) to apply the Frequent Absence Rule:
Step Action 1 At the end of each month check the attendance pattern of each child in your service.
a. a child has been absent on the same enrolled day or days of the week for more than half of these days in the month OR
b. a child has attended fewer hours than they were enrolled to attend, for more than half of their enrolled days in the month OR
c. a child attends for fewer days per week than they are enrolled to attend, for more than half of the weeks in the month.
- note down that the child’s absences must be monitored in the following month AND
- claim funding for the child’s absences.
3 At the end of the next month check the absence pattern of the frequently absent child again (as part of checking the absence patterns for all children in your service). 4
If the child’s absence pattern...
- is the same as in the previous month
- you must reconfirm the child’s enrolment agreement with their parent/guardian, and
- claim funding for the child’s absences.
Funding for absences in the third month must only be claimed if the child’s enrolment agreement has been reconfirmed (see next page).
If the child’s enrolment agreement is not reconfirmed, funding for absences in the third month must not be claimed.
6 Funding for absences in the fourth month must not be claimed and the enrolment agreement must be changed to match the child’s attendance.
Extension for periods of extended non-operation
Services that do not operate for a period of two weeks or more may extend the Frequent Absence rule where a child has already been frequently absent in the previous month.
The Frequent Absence Rule must be continued from the next full month of operation after the period of non-operation.
For example, if a pattern of frequent absence first occurred in the month of December, this would be month one. If a service did not operate in January for a period of two weeks or more and February was the next full month of operation, February would be month two.
Some examples of extended non-operation where the Frequent Absence Rule can be suspended are:
- Christmas holidays
- ‘End of term’ holidays
- When a service is closed for renovations
Section 6-8 works through several examples of the Frequent Absence Rule.
Please refer to this section for an illustration of how to apply the Frequent Absence Rule.
Reconfirming an enrolment agreement
To reconfirm an enrolment agreement you must either have the enrolment agreement signed and dated by the child’s parent/guardian, confirming that the enrolment agreement remains valid or change the child’s enrolment agreement to include new days and times that the child is expected to attend and have the changes signed and dated by the child’s parent/guardian.
Exemptions from the Frequent Absence Rule
Children with special needs or health problems may be absent more frequently. Services may apply for an exemption to the Frequent Absence Rule for these children.
See Section 7-7 for details on applying for an exemption.