30 Hours Free Childcare
So what is the free childcare scheme?
In a nutshell, many working parents of 3 and 4-year-olds in England will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare - rather than the current 15 hours. The 30 hours free offer is for 38 weeks per year, equivalent to school term times, and totals 1140 free hours across the year. It will be available at the participating childcare options.
Eligibility rules for 30 hours free childcare:
If you are working
You can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:
- in work
- on sick leave or annual leave
- on shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave
If you’re on adoption leave for a child aged 3 to 4 years old, you must return to work within 31 days of the date you first apply for 30 hours free childcare for that child.
If you are not currently working
You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Limited Capability for Work Benefit or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.
You can apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.
Over the next 3 months you and your partner (if you have one) must each expect to earn at least:
- £2,167 if you’re aged 23 or over
- £2,117 if you’re aged 21 or 22
- £1,557 if you’re aged 18 to 20
- £1,098 if you’re under 18 or an apprentice
When will it start and how long will in run for?
The scheme begun nationwide in September 2017. There is currently no end date.
You can register for the 30-hour scheme on the gov.uk.website. You will be asked to confirm the following information-
you live in England
your email address
your child's date of birth
You can also find out more on a new Childcare Choices website set up by HMRC. This also gives information about the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme and includes a childcare calculator so you can compare your different options.
To get 30 hours free childcare, you'll need to do the following:
Apply online through the childcare service.
If you're eligible, you'll receive a code
Take your code to your childcare provider or local council (if it's council-provided childcare), along with your National Insurance number and your child’s date of birth
Your childcare provider or council will check the code is authentic and allocate your child a free childcare place