Do you live in Wales? Have you heard about the Childcare Offer for Wales? As a mum of four children who have been raised in Wales, I can’t tell you how much I wish this had existed when they were pre-schoolers! Life would have been so much easier.
So, what is it?
The Childcare Offer for Wales aims to make life a bit easier for working parents of 3 to 4 year olds by offering help with childcare costs.
Under the Childcare Offer for Wales, working parents could claim 30 hours of early education and childcare a week, for up to 48 weeks of the year. The Offer has already helped parents from all over Wales to return to work, increase their hours or work more flexibly. Others are taking training opportunities to develop their skills, change their job or even start their own business.
The funding goes directly to nurseries and childminders, who will then deduct the funded hours from each parent’s bill.
Who can apply?
To be eligible for the Childcare Offer 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, and parents in lone parent families must be working to be eligible.
Parents who are self-employed or on a zero hours contract need to prove their status and provide relevant documents.
Parents who are self-employed but are on statutory leave for example, maternity leave, those who are foster carers, or those offering kinship care, may also be eligible. In addition, families where one parent gets certain benefits may also be eligible. In all these cases you are best to contact your local Family Information Service for more details.
What are the benefits?
The main benefit with the Childcare Offer is help towards childcare costs for your children, giving you a bit of extra money every month to spend on the things that are important to you and your family.
In addition to this of course, you can benefit from greater flexibility in how and when you can work. For example, this can be especially helpful to mums returning to work after having children. Subject to childcare provision, you can take on more hours, ad-hoc shifts etc.
With the Childcare Offer you could get up to 30 hours a week of early education and childcare. This 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.
How to apply
Whatever the Offer means to you and your family, don’t miss out on government support with childcare. Think carefully about how this could benefit your family unit.