Check if you can get Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare during coronavirus (COVID-19)

coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out about temporary changes that may affect you if you’re applying for, or already getting, Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare.

To help make sure critical workers can continue to access the childcare they need to enable them to work, even if their circumstances have changed during coronavirus (COVID-19), we have made some temporary changes.

This guidance will be updated when these changes end.

Temporary changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare, during coronavirus.

The changes may affect you if you, or someone you live with, are:

  • on furlough
  • not able to work or you’re working less
  • self-employed
  • a critical worker

If you’re on furlough

If your employer has no work for you they might be able to keep you on the payroll and put you on temporary leave instead. This is known as being put ‘on furlough’ and you’re paid 80% of wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

You should apply, or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account, if your wage, and your partner’s wage if you have one, is:

  • at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week
  • below the normal minimum income requirement, but you’d normally expect to meet the income requirement

If you’re not able to work or you’re working less

You should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account if you’re:

  • getting sick pay or statutory sick pay (SSP) – time spent on sick pay or SSP will count as working and meeting the minimum income requirement
  • taking unpaid leave to care for others, such as your children – if you expect your income to meet the minimum income requirement (at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week) after coronavirus
  • living with someone who has coronavirus – you must stay at home – if you expect your income to meet the minimum income agreement (at least the National Minimum Wage for 16 hours a week) after coronavirus
  • working less, your hours have been reduced and your wage:
    • meets the minimum earnings requirement
    • is below the normal minimum earnings requirement but you would normally expect to earn above it

If you’re made redundant

If you’re made redundant you’re not eligible to apply or reconfirm you have a childcare account because you’re:

  • no longer in work
  • not meeting the minimum income requirement

If you start employment again and expect to earn above the minimum income requirement you can apply 31 days before you start your new job.

If you’re self-employed

You should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account if you are:

  • continuing to work, and your earnings:
    • are above the minimum earnings requirement
    • are below the normal minimum earnings requirement but you would normally expect to earn above it
  • not able to get work because of coronavirus:
    • you may be eligible to claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – payments made to you through the scheme will count as earnings
    • and you’re not eligible for self-employed income support but would expect to earn at least the minimum income requirement

If you’re claiming Universal Credit

If you are now claiming Universal Credit and were getting:

  • Tax-Free Childcare, you cannot apply or reconfirm for Tax-Free Childcare – if you stop claiming Universal Credit you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare again
  • 30 hours free childcare, and you meet the revised minimum income requirement or would expect to normally, you should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account

If you missed the 31 March deadline

If you’ve missed the application or reconfirmation deadline for 30 hours free childcare, you should apply or reconfirm if you already have a childcare account.

Local authorities will be able to extend the validity dates on 30 hours codes for eligible critical worker parents during the summer term.

If you’re a critical worker

If you’re working more

If you’re a critical worker you may have exceeded the maximum income threshold of £100,000 per year. If this is because of increased hours as a direct result of coronavirus, you’ll still be eligible for 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare for the current tax year.

Apply or reconfirm

Find out about Tax-Free Childcare and how to apply.

Find out about 30 hours free childcare and how to apply.

Sign in to your childcare account to confirm your details.

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