You could get up to 30 hours a week of childcare or early education if your child is 3 or 4 years.

Part of:
First published:
23 May 2019
Last updated:

‘The childcare offer for Wales’ provides working parents with a mixture of childcare and early education for children aged 3 or 4. 

Early education is also known as ‘Foundation Phase nursery’. It is mainly provided by schools where children learn through play.

Childcare includes:

  • nurseries
  • child minders
  • playgroups
  • crèche
  • out of school child care
  • nannies

You can choose your own childcare provider that meets your child’s needs.

Nannies

If a nanny looks after your child you cannot pay them using the childcare offer.

You could get other support if your nanny is already registered with the Care Inspectorate Wales voluntary approval scheme. The scheme is not open to new applications.

Eligibility

  • your child must be aged 3 or 4 years old
  • you must earn at least the National Minimum Wage or living Wage for 16 hours a week on average
  • each parent must earn less than £100,000 per year
  • parents of lone parent families need to be working
  • parents of two parent families must both be working
  • parents who are self-employed or on a zero hours contract need prove their status and provide relevant documents
  • parents who are employed or self- employed but are on statutory leave for example, maternity leave
  • foster carers and kinship carers may also be eligible

Families where one parent gets certain benefits may also be eligible. Contact your Family Information Service for more details.

How much you could get

You could get up to 30 hours a week of early education and childcare.

The 30 hours is made up of a minimum of 10 hours of early education a week and a maximum of 20 hours a week of childcare. 

The amount of childcare you get depends on how much early education your local authority offers.

Will it affect my benefits

Most people who receive benefits will be able to get the offer and continue to receive their benefits.

You will need to let the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) know that you are receiving the offer. 

You need to tell them the amount you expect to spend on childcare is changing. This will not be treated as a formal change of circumstances and you will not be automatically transferred onto Universal Credit.

Universal Credit

You cannot use the childcare costs part of Universal Credit for hours of childcare funded by us. You can, however claim Universal Credit childcare costs for any additional childcare you need to pay for. This can be for either your 3 or 4 year old or any other child in your household.

Working Tax Credit

You can still receive Working Tax Credit at the same time as receiving the childcare offer.

Working Tax Credits are worked out based on how much you earn and an estimate of your childcare costs. Receiving the childcare offer may lead to an increase in your income. For example if you can work more hours, or a reduction in your childcare costs. This means that you may receive less tax credits.

Tax-Free Childcare

You can use Tax-Free Childcare and still receive the childcare offer for any additional hours of childcare you need.

You cannot use Tax-Free Childcare if you receive Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

Before you apply

Check that your chosen childcare provider is registered with a regulator. In Wales the regulator and inspectorate for childcare is Care Inspectorate Wales, in England Ofsted.

Apply

Contact your Family Information Service. If you are not eligible you may be able to get other childcare support. 

Contact

For help and support contact your local Family Information Service.