The new eligibility check says whether you are entitled to 15 or 30 hours free childcare. Below explains how,

ELIGIBILITY For 30 hours free childcare:


Parents will be able to access the 30-hour entitlement if they (each, in dual-parent families):      

  1. earn at least the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the national living wage – or national minimum wage for those aged under 25      

  2. earn less than £100,000 per year.


It is important to note that the minimum threshold is based on money earned, not hours worked – so if a parent works for 10 hours per week but still earns the equivalent of 16 hours at national minimum or living wage, they will be eligible for the 30-hour offer.


The self-employed, parents on zero-hours contracts and those on sick or parental leave are also eligible. The additional funded hours will also be available where one parent is employed but the other has substantial caring responsibilities or is disabled.


In cases where parents are separated, eligibility applies to the parent with whom the child ‘normally lives’. Where the parent of a child has a ‘partner’ – i.e. a person to whom they are married, have a civil partnership, or live with, the eligibility criteria also applies to that partner.

Determining eligibility


Parents will be able to apply for the 30-hour scheme (as well as the tax-free childcare scheme) through a joint online application developed by HMRC, which includes an eligibility checking system.

Once parents successfully apply online, they will be given a code which they can then present to their chosen provider(s). Providers can then use the eligibility checking system to check that the code is valid, and if it is, book that parent’s place. 

Parents will be expected to reconfirm their eligibility every three months. Any parents who provide false information about their eligibility can be fined between £300 and £3000.

Check the online childcare calculator through this link