If you are eligible for tax-free childcare, you may also be eligible for up to 30 hours of free childcare a week if you live and work in England.
It goes without saying that for most parents, free childcare is welcome. The main problem is that your preferred provider may not offer a place or may not be able to offer a full 30 hours a week. In this case you might want to consider looking for a different provider, or different type – such as a childminder rather than a local nursery.
How does it work?
All children in England get 15 hours free childcare a week, or 570 hours per year. This starts from the term beginning after the child’s 3rd birthday.
Most children aged 3-4 are entitled to an extra 15 hours of free childcare each week (adding up to a total of 1,140 hours per year) with an approved provider. If a child aged 2 years is cared for by the council, if they have special education needs, or if the parents are on income support, they may also be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare a week.
To be eligible, both parents must be working, or the parent in a single-parent household must be working. They need to be earning at least £125.28 a week (16 hours at National Minimum Wage) but no more than £100,000 a year. This does not apply if the parent/parents are self-employed and started their business less than 12 months ago. If a parent is not working because they are disabled or on paternity/maternity leave, they may be also able to claim.
Only a nursery, school, registered childminder, play scheme, or care worker registered at a home care agency can be used as a provider. Free childcare is not available after the child enters reception.
If you are eligible for extra hours of free childcare, you can sign up online through the Government Gateway to get a code. Give this code to your childcare provider to reserve your place.
Get experienced support
If you are self-employed, a contractor, or you run your own business, the issue of childcare can be difficult to navigate. At Tax Agility, we are experienced in helping people figure out how to optimise their earnings and save as much as possible by using schemes such as free childcare. Why not give us a call on 020 8108 0090 or get in touch with us via our contact page to arrange a complimentary, no obligation meeting.