UK childcare reforms – supporting your team beyond the office

As an employer, it’s important to support your team not just in the workplace, but also in their personal lives.

Understanding and promoting benefits that can improve their daily lives, such as easing the financial burden of childcare, is crucial for retaining and attracting employees.

In the UK, where childcare costs are among the highest globally, the Government’s extension of the free childcare scheme is a significant relief for working parents, including your employees.

Starting this year, the Government is extending its free childcare support to include younger children, which could significantly ease financial pressures for many of your team members.

Come September 2024, children as young as nine months will be eligible for 15 hours of free childcare per week, aligning with school term times.

This change could have a great impact on your parent employees allowing them to efficiently juggle work and family like circus pros, without the financial tightrope of crazy childcare costs!

Recent childcare scheme improvements

As of April 2024, working parents of two-year-olds have been eligible for 15 hours of free childcare per week.

If the child is eligible for this free care, then an application will need to be submitted and the parents will be required to reconfirm their eligibility every three months.

Childcare improvements coming soon

Starting from September 2024, children nine months and older will also be eligible for the 15 hours of free childcare as well.

The applications for this have already opened with a deadline submission of 31 August 2024 for the upcoming school term.

Potential Government changes

With the upcoming general election, plans for further development of the scheme could be delayed or abandoned depending on the party that takes control come 4 July.

As it stands at the moment, the scheme is due to expand to offer working parents of children nine months to school age an additional 15 hours bringing the total number of free childcare hours to 30.

Only time will tell if these plans will go ahead.

How to know if you’re eligible

The free childcare opportunity is available to employed parents earning between £8,670 and £100,000 per year.

To qualify, parents must enrol their children in Ofsted-approved childcare facilities.

Once the application is submitted and approved, a code will be sent to the parents, and they will need to provide it to their childcare provider to prove their eligibility.

One thing to note is that the free childcare may not apply to things like meals, nappies and activities so the parents may be required to pay these extra fees.

Why submit applications early

Given the high demand for childcare spots nationwide, it’s important for eligible parents to apply for these free hours as soon as possible.

Encouraging your employees to apply early can ease last-minute pressures and increase their chances of securing a spot at their preferred childcare facility.

To start the application process, eligible working parents can apply here.

By equipping your employees with information and resources to make the most of free childcare hours, you’re not just easing their financial burden but also boosting morale and productivity.

A proactive approach can help them access these benefits fostering a supportive workplace culture, enhancing employee satisfaction and encouraging them to stay with your company.

If you need advice on free childcare schemes, please get in touch with our team.

Posted in blog.