30 hours funded childcare

30 hours funded childcare - eligibility criteria

The earliest the funding can start is the term after the child turns 3 until they start reception class in school but both parents (or sole parent in a lone parent family) must meet the eligibility criteria:

Parent/carer earns on average:

  • weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) (for under 25 yr olds) or national living wage (NLW) (if over 25 yrs old),
  • and less than £100,000 per year.


  • Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity, paternity or adoption leave or statutory sick pay, or
  • one parent is employed and the other parent has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring, or
  • one parent is employed and one parent is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits.

Additional information

  • You do not need to actually work 16 hours per week, but your earnings must equal at least 16 hours work at minimum wage/national living wage. 
  • A parent/carer will be eligible if they expect (on average) to earn this amount over the coming three months.
  • For example, for a parent/carer who is on a zero-hours contract, they will qualify if on average they work two weeks out of every three, and when they are working they get 25 hours of work at the minimum wage.
  • ‘Parent’ means a person who has parental responsibility for the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earning threshold.
  • Foster carers who are in paid work outside their role as a foster parent may be eligible to apply for the 30 hours funded childcare for their foster children. Applications are made through the local authority and not the HMRC. Foster parents who meet the work requirements should arrange to have a meeting with their social worker to discuss if the funded childcare is consistent with the child's care plan.