Free childcare hours to be increased for working parents

Eligible working parents will be entitled to up to 30 hours a week free childcare from this month under a new Government initiative.

All three and four year olds already get 15 hours of free childcare over 38 weeks of the year (or fewer hours over more weeks), and this is now being doubled and will be known as ‘extended entitlement.’

This will be available to families where both parents/carers are working – if one parent works but the other does not, they will not be eligible. If the unemployed parent starts a new job in October, the additional hours won’t be available until January. To find out if you are eligible, visit   

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People for Plymouth City Council said: “There are a number of Government schemes available to support working parents with childcare costs, so it is important to choose the right one.”

The Government provides a childcare calculator for you to get an estimate of how much you could get to help pay for approved childcare. As well as up to 15 and 30 hours free childcare it also calculates if you might be eligible for Tax Credits, Universal Credits, Tax-Free Childcare, Childcare Vouchers or help whilst you study.

Other options for support with childcare include:

  • If you are eligible for Universal Credit, you could claim back 85% of your childcare costs
  • If you are eligible for Tax Credits, you could claim back 70% of your childcare costs
  • If you are not eligible for either of these credits, you could apply for Tax Free Childcare, where the Government pays 20% of your childcare costs – but your childcare provider must be registered
  • If you have a partner who already receives Childcare Vouchers, you may be better off staying in that scheme.

The application for ‘30 Hours Free Childcare’ is a joint application with the Tax Free Childcare, so if you are better off with Tax Credits or Universal Credit then you should opt out of this application – check the online Better Off Calculator for more information.

Some two year olds are also eligible for 15 hours of free childcare – find out more.

If you have any questions please contact Plymouth Early Years Team on 01752 307450.


Childcare providers in Plymouth

If you are looking for a childcare provider offering 30 hours free childcare in Plymouth please visit our Plymouth Online Directory