29 September 2016

New Free Childcare Entitlement

The Government’s free childcare initiative which entitles eligible working parents to up to 30 hours of free childcare will be available throughout England from September 2017.

The free childcare allocation will be offered in some local authority areas from September 2016 as part of a pilot programme before full rollout in 2017.

All children in England aged three or four are currently entitled to 15 hours free childcare, with some two-year-old children also entitled to the free 15 hour allocation.

An additional 15 hours of free childcare will be available for eligible working parents of three and four-year-olds. This will mean a total of 30 hours free childcare for eligible families. Eligibility will be based on parental income rather than the number of hours worked each week:

• The additional 15 hours of free childcare will be available to families where both parents are working, or the sole parent is working in a single parent family.

• Each parent must earn the equivalent of 16 hours a week at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW), and neither parent must earn more than £100k per year.

• In a household where at least one parent earns £100k per year or more, that family will not be eligible to take up the additional hours of free childcare.

In the majority of circumstances, families where one parent does not work, or neither parent works, will not be eligible for these additional hours. However, families where one parent is receiving benefits relating to caring responsibilities or a disability will be eligible.

Further information on the additional entitlement will be released in due course. For further information on free childcare availability in England, visit the Government website. Build UK members can call the Croner Employment Helpline for more information free on 0844 249 9873.