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Who is an essential worker? Education union pushes for clarity on free childcare plan

The federal government has announced a free childcare scheme to keep children in care and workers in jobs during the COVID-19 crisis.

The government says the plan is open to the children of ‘essential workers’ and it expects one million families to benefit from it, but there is a lack of clarity about who is classed as essential.

In a press conference announcing the massive plan, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the scheme will be available “for parents who need it”.

“If you have a job in this economy then that’s an essential job,” he said.

Victorian President of the Australian Education Union, Meredith Peace, said greater clarity around who is an essential worker is urgently needed.

“We’ve certainly been pushing at the federal government level to get a much clearer definition of what an essential worker is,” she told 3AW’s Tom Elliott.

“From our point of view this should be about front-line workers, such as people who are involved in the healthcare system.

“It shouldn’t be just what the Prime Minister has described as anyone who is working is an essential worker.”

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But Dan Tehan assured Ms Peace everyone was eligible.

FREE CHILDCARE: Federal government’s $1.6 billion COVID-19 childcare overhaul

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