'30 Hours' Childcare
Eligibility rules for 30 hours free childcare
- Your child must be 3 or 4 years old
- Both parents must be working or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family
- Each parent earns, on average, a weekly minimum equivalents to 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage for their age Each parent must have an annual income of less than £100,000
- You must live in England
- Whilst the scheme is for working parents, you might still be eligible if one of you is an official carer (receiving carer benefits) or are receiving disability benefits and the other one is working.
- There may also be other eligibility criteria announced. If you are self-employed or on a Zero hours contract and earn the equivalent of 16 hours at your minimum wage then you will also be eligible.
How do I apply for my '30 hours'
There are currently pilots taking place all around the country and we await to hear the final outcome of the best eligibility checking system. As we understand it at the moment it will be linked into the HMRC Tax Free Childcare scheme that is due to be introduced from April 2017. The eligibility criteria has been brought in line for both and therefore we are expecting to see an online eligibility checking system where parents can apply and providers can check acceptance. We understand this has to be done by both parents and providers every three months.
What if my circumstances change?
There will be a short 'grace period' for example if you lose your job, although all the details have not been finalised yet. The grace period is designed to allow parents time to find a new job and still use their eligible hours whilst doing so. If they are unsuccessful then their entitlement will revert to the current 15 hours or all-year round equivalent.
Consultation With Parents
We need to assess the potential need and possible take up of additional funded childcare from our existing parents, in order to support our being able to deliver this. We have created a short questionnaire that we would invite you to take part in to support our being able to ensure we can meet the demand and support your needs wherever possible. You may have heard much media talk about providers pulling out of the scheme as it is as underfunded as the existing 15 hours scheme. Whilst we have not made a final decision about delivering these additional hours, we would not want to disadvantage our parents and providing we can continue to use our current fee structure to ensure we are sustainable, there is no reason we should not be able to do this. It is our plan to deliver 30 hours over a minimum of 48 weeks and a maximum of 51 weeks and we have moved our 15 hours offer to a similar pattern. Therefore for us 30 hours will be 24 hours and 15 hours will be 12 hours.