Childcare Support Eligibility Extended for Parents
•Childcare support benefits will remain available to eligible parents even if they do not meet the minimum income threshold, thanks to two new programmes.
• Ninety-four per cent of parents who utilised formal childcare before the pandemic have either begun to use it again or plan to do so by January 2021.
Childcare support benefits will be extended for parents who are going back to work.
The UK announced on 26th October that working parents who may rely upon government support programmes for childcare will be able to continue to access those resources even if they do not meet the minimum income threshold.
Starting 1st November, the Job Support Scheme (JSS) and extended Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue to provide aid to eligible parents. The JSS and SEISS have been launched in order to replace the UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which expired on 31st October. These new support programmes will include ongoing childcare entitlements for families, such as 30 hours of free weekly childcare and tax-free childcare for eligible children ages 3 and 4 in England.
This announcement comes at a time when data shows that many parents are returning to work and re-enrolling their children in more traditional childcare settings.
On behalf of the UK Statistics Authority, the Office for Statistics Regulation found that attendance at a majority of nurseries, preschools, childminders and other early years settings has now reached 86 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, this number is expected to continue to increase as well. According to data reported by Ipsos MORI, 94 per cent of parents who utilised formal childcare prior to the pandemic had either already returned to using formal childcare or were planning to do so by January 2021.
Prior to the pandemic, working parents were required to meet a minimum income threshold in order to qualify for the 30 hours of free childcare and tax-free childcare. This threshold is usually equal to 16 hours’ worth of work per week at the national minimum wage. However, in order to accommodate parents whose income unexpectedly dropped during the pandemic, the government initially extended these benefits in May.
Since lockdown measures made necessary by COVID-19 began in March, the Department for Education has received around 180,000 applications and approximately 430,000 reconfirmations for the 30 hours offer.
For more information on the JSS, SEISS and other pandemic-related matters, contact us today