December | 2019

What is a waiver?

A waiver exempts a service from meeting a standard or regulation.

As an approved provider, you can apply to the Education Standards Board (ESB) for a waiver from certain requirements of the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011.

Legislation relating to waivers is set out in ss. 87–100 of the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011 (SA).

When do I need a waiver?

You may need a waiver if certain requirements are proving difficult or if your service is dealing with unexpected events. A waiver allows you to continue to provide a level of service to children.

What types of waivers are available?

You may apply for two types of waivers, depending on your circumstances:

  • temporary waiver: applies for up to 12 months at a time unless you are granted an extension
  • service waiver: ongoing and may be revoked at the ESB’s discretion, or when you apply to us to do so.

See the summary of where waivers may be applied (below).

Effect of waivers

While a waiver is in force, the approved education and care service is taken to comply with the elements of the NQS and the National Regulations that have been waived.

The approved provider is required to display information about any waiver visibly in the main entrance of the service.

How can I apply for a waiver?

Submit an SA08 form: Application for service or temporary waiver and pay the fee. Forms can be submitted online using the public portal, i.e. the National Quality Agenda IT System.

How are waiver applications processed?

The ESB assesses applications for waivers. We may ask applicants for further information to support their application. We will need to return incomplete applications and ask for more information.

What does the ESB consider when assessing an application?

We consider the risk to children’s safety, health or wellbeing before granting a waiver. We also review and assess evidence of what attempts your service has made to comply with the specific elements, standards or regulations.

In most cases, we will also determine whether the issue in your application is ongoing or can be resolved over a shorter or longer period of time.

Temporary waivers can be issued for up to 12 months. In some cases, additional conditions may be added to a waiver or service approval while the waiver is in place, and these will be specific to your service.

Can I apply for an extension to a temporary waiver?

Yes, if your circumstances have not changed and the issue relates to the same elements, standards or regulations you originally applied for. You must provide details of why you are requesting an extension and your attempts to comply.

Where a waiver may be applied (rr. 41 and 44)

Standard or regulation areaTemporary waiverService waiver
Family day-care and centre-based services
Standards and elements of the National Quality Standard
Quality Area 3: Physical environment
Quality Area 4: Staffing arrangements
104 Fencing
110 Ventilation and natural light
136 First-aid qualifications 
Specific to centre-based services

107 Space requirements (indoor space)

108 Space requirements (outdoor space)
111 Administrative space
112 Nappy-change facilities
113 Outdoor space (natural environment)
114 Outdoor space (shade)
115 Premises designed to facilitate supervision
120 Educators who are under 18 to be supervised
123 Educator-to-child ratios (centre-based services)
126 Centre based services (general educator qualifications)
130134 Requirements for early childhood teacher (centre-based services)
Specific to family day-care services

117 Glass

124 Number of children who can be educated and cared for (family day-care educator)
127 Family day-care educator qualifications
128 Family day-care coordinator qualifications

Further information

The Guide to the National Quality Framework (available on the ACECQA website) contains clear and detailed information about compliance monitor­ing.

Contact details

Education Standards Board
Phone: (08) 8226 0077 or 1800 882 413
Website: www.esb.sa.gov.au
Email: educationstandardsboard [at] sa.gov.au

This fact sheet provides guidance for approved providers of education and care services to help them operate in line with the National Quality Framework. We also recommend referring directly to the legislation: