3. 30 hours free childcare for working parents
Many working parents of three and four year olds in Oldham will be eligible for 30 hours of free childcare per week. The extended entitlement is intended to support working parents with the cost of childcare and enable parents, where they wish, to return to work or to work additional hours.
The entitlement amounts to 1140 hours over a year. It can be used up to 30 hours a week during term time (38 weeks) or for fewer hours per week spread over more weeks of the year.
It can be taken in the same variety of settings as the existing 15 hours free entitlement for three and four year-olds: day nurseries, nursery classes in schools, childminders, playgroups and pre-schools.
Childcare providers must be listed in Oldham Council’s Directory of Approved Providers. The hours can be split over more than one childcare provider.
The 30 hours free childcare offer is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables (such as nappies or sun cream), additional hours or additional activities (such as trips). Providers may charge a fee for these additions. If you choose to pay for these it is an arrangement between you and the childcare provider. However, you must not be required to pay any fee as a condition of taking up a 30 hours place, and must be offered alternative options.
The national eligibility criteria are as follows:
- both parents must be working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage or living wage, and less than £100,000 per year
- working will include employed and self-employed persons
- in general families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works) will not be eligible for these additional hours
- both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity or paternity leave
- both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on adoption leave
- both parents are employed but one or both parents is 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 or one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits
All 3 and 4 Year old children will continue to receive the universal 15 hours free childcare that is currently offered.
When can my child start?
Date parent receives eligibility code
Child can take up a funded place
Between 1 January to 31 March
the term starting after 1 April
Between 1 April to 31 August
the term starting after 1 September
Between 1 September to 31 December
the term starting after 1 January
How much is the equivalent of 16 hours, at the National Minimum Wage?
It depends on your age. The minimum amount will always reflect the lowest hourly rate that a person of your age, can legally be paid.
Therefore, currently, for a parent aged 21-22, you'd need to earn a weekly average of at least £162.88.
For a parent aged 23 plus, you'd need to earn a weekly average of at least £166.72.
Self-employed or on a zero-hours contract
You will be eligible if you (or both of you in a couple) earn at least the equivalent of 16 hours at the National Minimum Wage.
- Parents can submit a 30 hour application via the Childcare Choices website or by contacting the childcare services Customer Interaction Centre 0300 123 4097. Parents will be provided with a unique reference number which they should take to their childcare provider as proof of eligibility.
- Parents will be able to apply for both Tax-Free Childcare (and 30 hour free childcare through a joint application)
- It will provide a simple journey for all parents and because the criteria are similar, it will avoid the need to provide the same information twice
- Parents will be expected to inform HMRC of any change in circumstance that may affect their eligibility
- If eligibility changes there is a proposed grace period – this is intended to enable children to keep their place if parents become ineligible.