30 Hours Funded Childcare - Am I Eligible?

30 Hours Funded Childcare - Am I Eligible?

Date: 12 Mar 2018

30 Hours Funded Childcare: 
Am I Eligible?

The 30 hours ‘free’ childcare scheme was introduced by the government in the Autumn of 2017, however, many parents still do not understand what it means or how to access it.

To be eligible you (and your partner, if you have one) have to be in work and each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week. You’re not eligible if your child doesn’t normally live with you, if the child is your foster child or either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000.

If you’re unable to work you may still be eligible, as long as your partner is working and you can get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. The new 30 hours scheme is an extension of the existing 15 hours free childcare that all children, aged 3-4 years old in England are able to access for 38 weeks of the year. It starts from the first term after your child’s 3rd birthday.

The new scheme now offers 30 hours funded childcare a week for 38 weeks, or 1,140 hours per year. If you meet the criteria above you can sign up online where you will receive a code to give to your chosen day nursery, preschool or participating childcare provider. The free hours will start at the beginning of the following term. Please check with your Local Authority for exact cut off dates as they may vary.

Don’t worry if you or your partner are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, if you’re unable to work because you are disabled or any of the aforementioned, you could still be eligible.

Did You Know?

If you’re eligible for 30 hours funded childcare you can still claim universal credit, tax credits, salary sacrifice schemes or childcare vouchers and even childcare grants and bursaries. 

30 hours funded childcare is available at participating day nurseries, pre-schools and childcare practitioners. It is not a legal requirement for all childcare providers to offer 30 hours funded childcare.

Here’s some of the questions that are asked the most when it comes to understanding 30 hours funded childcare.

Am I covered for childcare all year round?

The funded childcare covers only 38 weeks of the year and not the full 52. Please bear in mind that it also only covers normal working hours, between 6am and 8pm. Most childcare providers use a stretched funding model to stretch the funding from 38 weeks to 50 weeks of the year - please check with your childcare provider for further details.

What if I need more than 30 hours a week or 38 weeks a year?

Most day nurseries, preschools and childcare providers will be able to provide full-time childcare, over and above the 30 funded hours, 38 weeks of the year. If eligible, the 1,140 hours will be used and the extra hours will be payable by you at your providers normal rate. Other funding options may also be available such as taxfree childcare.

If I lose my job will I lose my 30 hours funding?

You’ll still receive the full funding for a grace period, this will need to be discussed with your childcare provider. As you’re no longer meeting the criteria of the 30 hours funded childcare you aren’t technically eligible, unless you’re out of work due to disability, maternity/paternity or any of those mentioned previously. When the grace period finishes you’ll still be able to receive 15 hours of funded childcare for three and four year olds.

If I’m ineligible for the 30 hours funded childcare, can I still get 15 hours?

 Yes you can. As 15 hours is available to all 3-4 year olds in residing in England, you will receive 15 instead of the full 30 hours funded childcare.

Am I covered for childcare all year round?

The funded childcare covers only 38 weeks of the year and not the full 52. Please bear in mind that it also only covers normal working hours, between 6am and 8pm. Most childcare providers use a stretched funding model to stretch the funding from 38 weeks to 50 weeks of the year - please check with your childcare provider for further details.

To find out exactly what fees and funding are available to you, speak to your Nursery Manager or childcare practitioner. If you have not started your journey yet, why not call to book a personal tour or a free stay and play session at your local Bright Horizons nursery?

Call us on 0333 363 7153 or visit our website.

Got a question?
Get in touch!

At Bright Horizons, we’re always on hand to help with any questions you may have, whether it be about funded childcare or a general question about your local nursery