Some children from working parents are now eligible for an additional 15 hours Free Early Years Childcare Entitlement from Halton Borough Council each week – that’s an extra 570 hours a year!

All three and four year olds are entitled to 15 hours per week Free Early Years Childcare from the term after their third birthday, but to be able to claim the new additional 15 free hours you must apply before the end of December 2018 to be able to start claiming the extra hours from January.

Eligibility Criteria for the additional 15 Hours of funded childcare is: :

• The child is three or four years of age.
• All parents (whether a two-parent or lone parent) are working and earning a minimum of the equivalent of 16 hours a week at the National Minimum or Living Wage including income received from Tax or Universal Credit and/or any one parent’s income does not exceed £100,000.
• One or both parents are on leave (i.e. paternal, maternal or adoption) or claiming statutory sick pay.
• Parents on zero hour contracts and those who are registered as self-employed.
• One parent is employed and the other parent has either: substantial caring responsibilities and/or a disability; is a Foster Carer with their own three and four-year-old children.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Children. Young People and Families, Cllr Tom McInerney, said: “Early years childcare providers, which include day nurseries, pre-schools, nursery schools/classes (including SEN nursery schools), primary academies, after school clubs and eligible child minders can provide the 15 hours of extended childcare. ”

For more information go to the Government’s website, which brings together all the government childcare offers to help parents find the right childcare support to suit them.

The website has been especially designed for parents as a quick and simple way of seeing which schemes could provide support for families.

The website also includes a Childcare Calculator which allows parents to compare the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for their families. If your child is too young yet for the free childcare, parents can register for an email alert that will notify them when they can apply for 30 hours free childcare.

To ensure you can claim 30 hours free childcare parents must apply the term before they want to start claiming, for example, if you want to claim from the spring term 2019, you need to have applied for your 30 hour code before 31st December 2018.

To be eligible for the additional 15 hours from January 2019, both sets of criteria below must be met:

• The child must be 3 or 4 years old before 31st December 2018, and
• Working parents must have applied for the additional hours and been issued with an eligibility code from HMRC before 31st December 2018

Parents who are already claiming 30 hours free childcare are reminded that they must re-confirm eligibility every 3 months, by logging into their Government gateway account. They will receive an email reminder in their Government secure emails account approximately four weeks before their expiry date.