From September 2017, many working parents of 3 to 4 year olds in England will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare rather than the previous 15 hours.

Not every child is eligible to receive the additional 15 hours but the current level of 15 hours is still available to those who are already in receipt of the allowance.

Prior to September 2017,  children that were eligible to receive the 15 hours free child care will continue to receive this as it is a universal entitlement for all children starting the term following their third birthday.

The extended entitlement is in addition to the universal 15 hours entitlement, providing an extra 15 hours a week of free childcare for families that meet the eligibility criteria.

You can usually get 30 hours free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:

  • in work – or getting parental leave, sick leave or annual leave
  • each earning at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage for 16 hours a week – this is £120 if you’re over 25

This earnings limit doesn’t apply if you’re self-employed and started your business less than 12 months ago.

You’re not eligible if:

  • your child doesn’t usually live with you
  • either you or your partner has a taxable income over £100,000

The Minister for Children and Families announced that children that are fostered will be eligible for the additional 15 hours but it is unclear when the change will come into force.

Further details will be released by the department for education shortly.

For further information visit Childcare costs.

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