30 Hour Funding

There is a lot of confusion around the roll-out of the 30 hours funded childcare offer so read on to get some answers!

Please ask Staff if you require more information

30 hours free childcare legislation and eligibility

You will be eligible for the 30-hour offer if:

  • You earn more than the equivalent of 16 hours at the national living wage or minimum wage per week: for example, £120 per week if you are 25 or older.


There is no requirement to work a certain amount of hours per week – it is all about how much you earn.



  • You earn less than £100,000 per year.

If you are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract, youu are still eligible as long as you expect to meet the earning criteria on average over the three months after you have applied for the 30-hours.


If you are an apprentices: You are eligible as long as they earn the equivalent to 16 hours at the apprentice minimum wage.

If you are starting up your own business: You will not be expected to meet the minimum earning criteria in your first year of trading. 

If you are not working but you expect to take up paid work within 14 days: You can still apply for 30 hours, as long as you expect to meet the income criteria over the coming three months.

If you are a single parent: If you meet the above criteria, you will be eligible for the 30 hours.

If you live with a partner: You must both must meet the above criteria. This still applies if one of you is not the child’s parent – for example, if you have remarried or have started living with a new partner.

If you are separated/divorced from your child’s parent: The eligibility rules will only apply to the parent the child normally lives with (and their new partner if they are part of the same household).


You will NOT have to meet the minimum earnings criteria if:

  • You and your partner are employed but one or both of you temporarily on parental, maternity or paternity, adoption leave, or on statutory sick pay

  • You are employed but your partner either has substantial caring responsibilities, or is disabled or incapacitated, or vice versa. This is dependent on you or your partner being entitled to specific benefits.

My child is going to turn three next year. How soon can I access the 30 hours?


Your child will be eligible for the 30 hours offer from the term after they turn three, or the term after you receive your eligibility code – whichever is later.

How do I apply for the 30 hours offer?

You will be able to apply for both the 30-hour offer and tax-free childcare using a single application available online via the Childcare Service.

If I’m not eligible for the 30-hour offer, can I still get my 15 hours?

Yes. The 15-hour offer is still universal so if you’re not eligible for a 30-hour place, you will still be eligible for the 15-hour offer.

What happens if I become ineligible for the offer e.g. because I lose my job?

If you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, your child’s 30-hour place will continue to be funded for a ‘grace period’. You should discuss this with your provider if and when you lose eligibility. 

Once the grace period has expired, you will still be eligible for the 15-hour funded childcare offer. 

I want to access the 30-hours but my provider is asking for a deposit. Can they do this?

Yes. Under government rules, providers can charge a refundable deposit for funded places for two, three and four-year-olds.  Each local council will have their own arrangements with providers for when deposits are refunded to parents.

For more information please ask a member of the St Gabriels Team.

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