30 Hours Free Childcare

  • Gov Leglislation
  • Author:UK Government
  • Published:November 2021
  • Country: United Kingdom

30 hours Free Childcare

You may be able to get 30 hours free childcare if:

The childcare:

  • Must be with an approved childcare provider
  • Stops when your child starts in reception class (or reaches compulsory school age, if later)

You may have to pay for extra costs like meals, nappies or trips.

How you can use 30 hours of free childcare

You can get 30 hours of free childcare per week for 38 weeks of the year (during school term time).

You may be able to get free childcare for 52 weeks if you use fewer than 30 hours per week. Check with your childcare provider to find out if this is something they offer.

Your child

You will not be eligible if your child does not usually live with you.


Your eligibility depends on:

  • If you are working
  • Your income (and your partner’s income, if you have one)
  • Your child’s age and circumstances
  • Your immigration status

If you are working

You can usually get 30 hours of free childcare if you (and your partner, if you have one) are:

  • You are in work
  • On sick leave or annual leave
  • On shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave

If you’re on adoption leave for a child aged 3 to 4 years old, you must return to work within 31 days of the date you first apply for 30 hours of free childcare for that child.

If you are not currently working

You may still be eligible if your partner is working, and you get Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.

You can apply if you’re starting or re-starting work within the next 31 days.

For the full regulations visit the UK Government website here.

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