30 Hours Free Child Entitlement

30 Hours Childcare Entitlement

This information is courtesy of the ‘early years alliance.’
For further information about this and a variety of other early years issues you can visit their website at

Is my family eligible for 30 hours funding? You will be eligible for the 30-hour funded childcare offer if:

Families have to meet certain income requirements to be eligible for the current 30-hour offer for three- and four-year-olds, and the new yet-to-be-introduced offers for children aged nine months and over.

This eligibility criteria applies to each parent or carer in dual-parent households and the lone parent or carer in lone-parent households.

To be eligible, each parent or carer must:

  • earn more than the equivalent of 16 hours at the national living wage or minimum wage per week. This means that over the next three months, you expect to earn at least £1,976 – the National Living Wage if you are 23 or older.

There is no requirement to work a certain number of hours per week – it is all about how much you earn. This means that, for example, if you only work 10 hours a week but earn £20 per hour, you will meet the minimum earning threshold. Apprentices are also eligible as long as they earn the equivalent to 16 hours at the apprentice minimum wage.


  • earn less than £100,000 per year. Again this applies to each parent and carer in a dual-parent household. This means that if one parent earned £101,000 and the other earned £20,000, a family would not be eligible, but if both parents earned £99,000, the family would be eligible.

These criteria apply if you are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract and expect to meet the earning criteria on average over the three months after you have applied for your funded entitlement. HMRC will look at data such as your previous earnings to consider whether you are likely to meet the criteria and may contact you for further information if they are unsure.

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 31 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 live with a partner, you both must meet the above criteria even 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 that the child normally lives with (and their new partner if they are part of the same household).

If you are on shared parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave, you can still apply for the 30 hours. If you’re on adoption leave for a child aged three- to four-years-old, you must return to work within 31 days of the date you first apply for the 30 hours offer