We’re here to share exciting news about upcoming changes to childcare support in the UK, particularly the expansion of the 15 and 30 hours childcare offer. Whether you’re a parent or carer, these changes aim to make quality childcare more accessible. Let’s delve into the current childcare offer and explore the phased expansion that will roll out from April 2024.
The Current Offer: 15 and 30 Hours Childcare
In England, parents and carers of 3 and 4-year-olds currently enjoy 15 hours a week of childcare support with registered childcare providers. Working parents and carers of 3-4 year-olds can boost this support with an additional 15 hours, making it a total of 30 hours a week.
Eligible parents of 2-year-olds may also receive 15 hours of childcare support if they receive specific forms of government assistance. These hours are for 38 weeks during term time, but some providers offer flexibility for up to 52 weeks. Always check with your childcare provider.
Tax-Free Childcare or Universal Credit for Childcare can be used in conjunction with claiming 15 or 30 hours of childcare support.
The Upcoming Childcare Support Expansion: What to Expect
From April 2024, childcare support will expand gradually, reaching full capacity by September 2025. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:
- April 2024:
- Eligible working parents of 2-year-olds gain access to 15 hours of childcare support.
- September 2024:
- 15 hours of childcare support extends to eligible working parents of children aged 9 months to 3 years.
- September 2025:
- Eligible working parents of children under 5 will be entitled to a substantial 30 hours of childcare per week.
What Does This Mean for You?
Much like the existing offer, these hours can be used over 38 weeks of the year (term time) or stretched across 52 weeks if you use fewer than your total hours per week. The phased introduction of these changes ensures that providers can effectively cater to the growing needs of families.
Are You Eligible for the New Childcare Support Expansion?
To qualify for childcare benefits, both you and your partner should expect to earn at least £167 per week. Which is equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage. Even if you’re on maternity/ paternity leave or unable to work due to disability or caring responsibilities, you may still qualify.
However, if you or your partner individually expect to earn a net income of £100,000 or more, you won’t be eligible. Eligible working families can receive up to 30 hours of childcare. However, this cannot be combined with the universal 15 hours available for all 3 and 4-year-olds.
How to Stay Informed
Excited about these changes? follow our blog for more details about the upcoming expansion starting April 2024. Learn about the registration process and how to access support for childcare costs!
The upcoming expansion in childcare support represents a significant step forward in making quality childcare more accessible to working families. Stay tuned for a brighter future for you and your little ones!