30 hours free childcare: Extended entitlement for working parents
From September 2017 some working parents will be entitled to an extra 15 hours early education or childcare for their three or four year old child. If eligible you can have 30 hours instead of the usual 15 hours over 38 weeks per year. This can be stretched over more than 38 weeks. Eligibility starts the term after your child’s third birthday as with the universal entitlement.
Am I eligible? Families will be eligible where:
- Both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW), and each parent earns less than £100,000 per year.
- Parents’ earnings must reflect the equivalent value of at least 16 hours of work at NMW or NLW, which is £120 a week at the current NMW rate. This includes those parents on zero-hour contracts who meet the criteria.
- The minimum amount will always be judged against the lowest hourly rate that a person of the parent’s age could legally be paid as minimum wage rates vary by age.
- Or a parent/s expects (on average) to earn this amount over the coming three months. The eligibility criteria have been designed to accommodate parents with fluctuating incomes and those who are about to start working or increase their hours. For example, a parent who is on a zero-hours contract will get work some weeks, but not others, and may not know in advance if they will have work in any given week. If, on average they work two weeks out of every three, and when they are working they get 25 hours of work at the minimum wage, their child will qualify for 30 hours of free childcare.
- Working will include the employed and self-employed and those on zero-hour contracts, and also those away from work due to statutory sick pay, maternity, paternity or adoption leave and where one parent is working and the other is in receipt of benefits due to caring responsibility or disability.
- The person applying for the childcare (usually the parent) is ‘resident in the UK’.
How can I sign up for this?
To apply you must sign up via the online digital Childcare Service https://childcare-support.tax.service.gov.uk/
To find out about other support for funding for childcare including tax free childcare, support for two years old and more visit: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/
To find childcare in your area or more information visit: www.newcastlesupportdirectory.org.uk
How can I use my extended hours?
- You can use your 30 hours over 38 weeks of the year or stretched over more weeks i.e. 22.8 hours over 50 weeks of the year, though some providers will have fixed session times.
- You may be able to use your hours from 6am or until 8pm and at the weekend - for instance childminders can sometimes provide earlier or later hours than a day nursery or playgroup.
- You can use up to three different providers for instance a school playgroup a childminder and a day nursery. But you need to let each provider know you are using other provision.
- Any additional hours used will be paid for by you at the rate for this provider - which will vary.
How can I take up my free 30 hours?
- Once you have applied online you will receive an 11-digit eligibility code. Take this to your prefered childcare provider or school and film in the parent declaration form to verify your eligibility
- Remember you can use your 30 hours over more than one childcare provider
- To find childcare in your area or more information visit: www.newcastlesupportdirectory.org.uk
*A 'parent' means a person who has parental responsibility for the child or care of the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earnings threshold. Foster carers are eligible for the extended entitlement if they meet the criteria set out above for their own children. Foster carers are not eligible for the extended entitlement for the children that they foster.
Printable sheets and Website links for further information:
- 30 hours free extended entitlement (A4 summary) (pdf)
- 30 hours free extended entitlement (full version) (pdf)
- 30 hours frequently asked questions (pdf)
- Tax free childcare (external link)
- To register for emails about new childcare schemes 2017 (external link)