From September 2017, the Government will offer 30 hours of free childcare per week for parents of three and four year olds, to help them continue or take up employment.
Guidance from the Department for Education states that parents will need to meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- They earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months.
- This equates to £120 a week (or c.£6,000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old or £112.80 a week (or c.£5,800 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old.
- This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hours contract.
- Where one parent meets the income criteria above and the other is:
- Unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work.
- On maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave.
- Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (ie they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months.
- If the parent is a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national, they must have recourse to public funds.
There’s still time for parents to apply for 30 Hours Free Childcare. Parents whose children will be aged 3 or 4 on 31 August 2017 can check their eligibility at www.childcarechoices.gov.uk and access their free place from this September