Critical workers to retain access to free childcare if their income changes

Working parents who fall short of 16 hours work a week, due to coronavirus, will continue to be eligible for ‘free’ childcare.

The 30 hours deadline for the summer term has been extended to the end of August.
The 30 hours deadline for the summer term has been extended to the end of August.

New Government guidance has been published outlining how parents who normally qualify for the Government’s free entitlements and Tax-free Childcare can continue to be eligible during the summer term if their income levels fall due to the impact of coronavirus.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, parents who are critical workers will also remain eligible for these entitlements if their income has increased over the maximum threshold during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It remains the case that all educational settings will remain closed, except for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

These changes will mean that critical workers and the parents of vulnerable children can still benefit from these entitlements even if their working hours fall as a result of self-isolating, illness, furloughing or job loss – or, in the case of many critical workers, their hours increase.

This temporary flexibility will ensure critical workers can continue to access the childcare they need to enable them to work. These arrangements will be reviewed over the summer.

Parents are required to reconfirm their eligibility for 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare quarterly. The 30 hours deadline for the summer term has been extended to the 31st August to give working parents additional time to protect their place.

The temporary changes are in line with wider Government measures to make sure working parents remain eligible for 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare even if they fall below the minimum working wage threshold due to coronavirus, equal to 16 hours per week at the national minimum wage.

Local authorities can extend the validity dates on the 30 hours codes received by parents who are critical workers during the summer term, ensuring those who are eligible can access the childcare offer despite having missed their reconfirmation date or the application deadline of 31 March 2020.

Minister for Children’s and Families Vicky Ford said: ‘No parent whose income falls as a result of this virus should lose their eligibility for free childcare at this time. That’s why we are confirming that anyone who was previously eligible should remain so.

‘I am also asking local authorities to extend the validity of 30 hours codes of any parents who have missed their chance to reconfirm. This will help smooth the transition period when settings reopen.’

Read the new eligibility guidance here



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