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Claiming the new 15 hours of free childcare for 2 year olds. 

15 and 30 hours childcare

Starting from April 2024, existing childcare support will be expanded in phases. By September 2025, most working families with children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare support.

The changes are being introduced gradually to make sure that providers can meet the needs of more families. This means that:

From April 2024, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours childcare support.

From September 2024, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to eligible working parents of children from the age of 9 months to 3-year-olds.

From September 2025, eligible working parents of children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.

Like the existing offer, depending on your provider, these hours can be used over 38 weeks of the year or up to 52 weeks if you use fewer than your total hours per week.

Free childcare

If you’re in work you might be able to get 15 hours of funded childcare a week from 1 April 2024 - this is often called ‘free hours’. If you’re in a couple you both need to be working.

You can usually get 15 hours of funded childcare if both the following apply:

  • your child is 2 years old or will turn 2 years old before 1 April 2024

  • you earn at least £8,670 a year and less than £100,000 a year adjusted net income, which is your income after some tax reliefs and deductions

If you’re a couple, you'll both need to earn between these amounts.

If you already get 15 funded hours of childcare from the government you can’t get these hours as well. 

You can get the 15 hours of funded childcare at the same time as using Tax-Free Childcare or Universal Credit for childcare.

 

From January, eligible working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to register to access 15 hours free childcare per week from April 2024, the first step in the government’s long-term plan to give working families a brighter future. The recommended time to register is between mid-January and the end of February.

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