30 Hours Funding FAQs
In a two parent family, both must work full or part-time and in a one parent family the sole parent must work full or part-time.
Each parent must work at least 16 hours under the national minimum wage and less than £100,000 per year.
Parents of three and four year olds will need to meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare:
- They earn or expect to earn the equivalent to 16 hours at National Minimum or Living Wage over the coming three months.
- This equates to £115 a week (or c.£6,000 a year) for each parent over 25 years old or £111.20 a week (or c.£5,700 a year) for each parent between 21 and 24 years old.
- This applies whether you are in paid employment, self-employed or on zero hours contract.
- The parent (and their partner where applicable) should be seeking the free childcare to enable them to work.
- Where one or both parents are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave, or if they are on statutory sick leave.
- Where one parent meets the income criteria and the other is unable to work because they are disabled, have caring responsibilities or have been assessed as having limited capability to work.
- Where a parent is in a ‘start-up period’ (i.e. they are newly self-employed) they do not need to demonstrate that they meet the income criteria for 12 months.
- If a non-EEA national, the parent must have recourse to public funds.
A parent will not receive a ‘yes’ decision where:
- Either or both parents have an income of more than £100,000
- The parent is a non-EEA national and subject to immigration control (and has no recourse to public funds)
What happens if a parent loses eligibility?
- They will receive a ‘grace period’ – this means they will be able to keep their childcare for a short period.
- Once the ‘grace period’ has lapsed, the parent may be entitled to the universal 15-hour entitlement.
The government is setting up a new process for parents to check their eligibility through an online process. This will give parents an eligibility code which they'll need to pass on to their childcare provider/s to show that they are eligible for the 30 hours of childcare. Parents will have to do this every three months to show they are still eligible. The childcare provider will need to record this code and quote it when claiming the funding. We'll update this page with more details when these become available.
All 3 and 4 year olds are still entitled to the current universal 15 hours of free early education a week, term time. This equals 570 hours a year and can also be spread over more than 38 weeks if that option is available. It is very important for their development that these children can still access their full 15 hours and are not disadvantaged by children taking up the 30 hours entitlement.