15 and 30 hours childcare
The current offer
In England, all parents and carers of 3 and 4-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours a week childcare support with registered childcare providers. Eligible working parents and carers of children aged 3-4 can also get an additional 15 hours childcare support, bringing their total up to 30 hours a week.
Some parents of 2-year-old children may also be entitled to 15 hours support.
Your hours can be used per week for 38 weeks of the year (during school term time). You may be able use your hours for up to 52 weeks if you use fewer than your total hours per week. Check with your childcare provider to find out if this is something they offer.
You can use Tax-Free Childcare or Universal Credit for Childcare whilst claiming your 15 or 30 hours of childcare support.
Check here to find the right offer for you and how to apply for 30 hours of childcare.
There are similar childcare support schemes in Scotland and Wales.
The upcoming expansion
Starting from April 2024, existing childcare support will be expanded in phases. By September 2025, most working families with children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare support.
The changes are being introduced gradually to make sure that providers can meet the needs of more families. This means that:
From April 2024, working parents of 2-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours childcare support.
From September 2024, 15 hours childcare support will be extended to all children from the age of 9 months to 3-year-olds.
From September 2025, working parents of children under the age of 5 will be entitled to 30 hours of childcare a week.
Like the existing offer, depending on your provider, these hours can be used over 38 weeks of the year (during school term time), or up to 52 weeks if you use fewer than your total hours per week.
Universal Credit for Childcare
From summer 2023, working parents on Universal Credit will be able to receive more financial help with their childcare costs from a registered provider. This will be to up to the maximum amount of £951 per month for 1 child or up to £1,630 per month for 2 or more children. Eligible parents claiming Universal Credit will also be able to get additional help with their upfront childcare costs when moving into paid work or increasing their working hours so that they can more easily pay their next set of costs. Parents who are moving into paid work or increasing their working hours can speak to their Universal Credit work coach who can provide more information.