SINGAPORE: All childcare centres have been called to extend its 50 per cent fee offset for Singaporean children who are not attending pre-school during the extended "circuit breaker" period in May.
"This offset can be invoiced on or from June onwards, depending on each childcare centre's policy," said Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) chief executive Jamie Ang in a letter to parents and guardians on Thursday (Apr 30).
The 50 per cent fee offset is applicable for children who remained enrolled in June and applies to fees payable by parents after GST and pre-school subsidy.
Parents of Singaporean pre-schoolers received 50 per cent off their nett school fees for a month as Singapore began its circuit breaker period in April.
On Apr 21, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the circuit breaker would be extended by another four weeks, from May 5 to Jun 1.
Kindergartens had their school holidays moved forward to May while general services at childcare services remained suspended during the extended circuit breaker period.
ECDA said the fee offset may be varied depending on the financial situation of each individual childcare centre.
"We seek parents’ understanding that individual childcare centres may have to vary exactly how they can provide the offset, depending on their financial circumstances," said Ms Ang.
"The childcare centres are not homogeneous, and Government assistance may not cover the entire cost of operations for all, depending on the cost structure and manpower mix."
She added: "Childcare operators may vary how the offset sharing is provided. Some may have to pace out the 50 per cent fee offset over a few months or until the situation improves, or providing other kinds of offset such as additional classes during non-programme time, learning resources or future activities."
ECDA will also continue to support parents with pre-school subsidies and automatically waive normal requirements for pre-school subsidies in May 2020.
Parents whose incomes are affected may also approach their pre-school to apply to have their subsidies reassessed so that they may qualify for a higher subsidy tier.