Eligibility for 30 hours free childcare

3 and 4 year old children are eligible for 30 hours free childcare where their household meets the following eligiblity criteria: 

  • both parents are working or one parent is working in lone parent families. This is defined as earning the equivalent of 16 hours per week on national minimum wage/national living wage, but less than £100,000 per year.  This applies for self-employed and zero hour contracts.
  • both parents are employed but one or both of them are temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave.
  • both parents are employed but one or both of them are temporarily away from the workplace on statutory sick pay.
  • one parent is employed and one parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring.
  • one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on specific benefits.

30 hours free childcare can be claimed by eligible families alongside tax credits, universal credit, tax-free childcare and other schemes to help pay for any additional childcare. 

From September 2018, children who have a special guardianship order or are in foster care may also be eligible for 30 hours.

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