Support your team on and off the clock with childcare reforms

As an employer, it’s crucial to support your team not only during working hours but also in their personal lives.

Recognising and promoting benefits that improve their daily lives, like easing the financial burden of childcare, is essential for keeping employees happy and bringing in new talent.

In the UK, where childcare costs are among the highest globally, the recent government extension of the free childcare scheme comes as a significant relief for working parents, including your team members.

The Government is broadening its support for working parents’ access to childcare to include younger children, which could greatly alleviate financial pressures for many of your employees.

From September 2024, children as young as nine months will be able to qualify for 15 hours of free childcare per week, aligned with school term times.

This change is poised to make a real difference in the lives of your parent employees, helping them manage work and family responsibilities more effectively, without the heavy burden of childcare costs.

Childcare scheme improvements

Recent improvements mean that since April 2024, working parents of two-year-olds have been eligible for 15 hours of free childcare per week.

For parents to access this benefit, they will need to apply for a code to show to their care provider and confirm their eligibility every three months.

Looking ahead, from September 2024, children aged nine months and older will also benefit from the extended 15 hours of free childcare.

The applications for this were opened earlier this year and the deadline for submission for the next school term is 31 August 2024.

If the plans for future development stay as they are, then the program is due to extend to provide working parents of children from nine months to school age 30 hours of free childcare.

However, you should be aware that plans for further development of the scheme could be affected by the outcome of the upcoming general election, potentially leading to delays or changes in the expansion plans.

How to determine your eligibility

Eligibility for free childcare is open to employed parents earning between £8,670 and £100,000 annually.

Parents must enrol their children in Ofsted-approved childcare facilities in order to qualify.

Additional costs, such as meals, nappies, and activities, may apply as they are not covered in the free childcare scheme.

Try and apply early

Given the high demand for childcare placements nationwide, it’s advisable for eligible parents to apply early to secure preferred spots.

Encouraging your employees to apply promptly can help reduce last-minute stress and improve their chances of securing a place at their preferred childcare provider.

By providing employees with information and support to make the most of free childcare hours, employers not only relieve financial pressures but also enhance their employee’s performance at work.

Taking a proactive approach to facilitate access to these benefits helps create a supportive workplace culture, boosts job satisfaction, and encourages long-term commitment to your organisation.

If you need guidance on free childcare schemes, please reach out to our team. We’re here to support you and your employees every step of the way.

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