ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the ECE Funding Handbook. This handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020.

Funding of certain services and certified playgroups – New Zealand Legislation(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' of everything you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the ECE Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours ECE funding
  • equity funding
  • the annual top-up for isolated services.

This information does not apply to certificated playgroups

The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups.

These services should contact their Ministry regional office for more information.

Local Ministry offices

Download the ECE Funding Handbook

If you would like to print a 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

7-7 Absence rule exemptions

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  • Introduction
    • Permanently enrolled children with special needs or health problems may be exempt from the Frequent Absence Rule or funded for continuous absences beyond the three week period.

      This section explains the criteria for exemption from the absence rules, and how services can apply for an exemption.

      For more information on the absence rules refer to Chapter 6 of this Handbook.

  • Criteria
    • A child will qualify for an exemption from the absence rules if:

      Either the child has been identified as having an ongoing special need, and this is supported by:

      • an Individual Development Plan (IDP) issued within the previous six months by the Ministry’s Group Special Education or an alternative accredited early childhood special education provider or
      • a completed EC13 (Medical Reasons for Exemption to Use Early Childhood Absence Rule for Children with Special Health Needs) or
      • Child Disability Allowance documentation

      Or the child has a short term illness or condition that is supported by an EC13 Form, and this specifies the period of the exemption.

  • Not eligible
    • Children without special needs or health problems but who have parents or siblings with special needs or health problems are not eligible for an exemption from the absence rules.

  • Application
    • Services seeking an exemption from the absence rules must complete an EC12 Form [PDF, 141 KB] (and EC13 [PDF, 43 KB] Form where applicable).

      These forms, along with supporting documentation, must be retained by the service.

      Services must provide these documents to the Ministry or its Resourcing Auditors on request.

  • Limits of exemption - general
    • Absence rules exemptions apply only to the specific enrolment agreement for each child with special needs or health problems.

      Children with special needs or health problems who are enrolled at two services for the same hours of attendance cannot be funded for absences at both services.

  • Limits of exemption – Three Week Rule
    • Services may claim funding for all the sessions/days a child was enrolled to attend, but was absent from, within a 12 week period. The 12 week period begins on the first day of absence.

      No funding may be claimed for any continuous absences from the 13th week onwards.

  • Filling the child-place
    • Another child may attend in the permanently enrolled absent child’s place (provided licence maximums are not exceeded), but funding must not be claimed for this child if funding is being claimed for the absent child.

      For more information on filling child-places refer to Section 6-2 of this Handbook.