Childcare costs

Eligibility for help with childcare costs

Funded Childcare Early Years Entitlement 

The Government provides funded entitlement. This is called Early Years Entitlement (EYE) and consists of: 

  • Two year old Universal Entitlement for families in receipt of additional Government support. 
  • Two year old Universal Entitlement for eligible working families (From 1st April 2024). 
  • Three and four year old Universal Entitlement for all three and four year olds. 
  • Three and four year old Extended Entitlement (30-hours) for children of eligible working families. 

Funding will be available for eligible working families with children aged 9 months and above from September 2024. To find out if you are eligible for funding and to apply, please visit Childcare Choices.  

How the funding is organised

The 15 (or 30) hours' funding is only paid for 38 weeks of the year, making a total of 570 (or 1140) hours of funded childcare per year. Many childcare providers may choose to offer the annual number of funded care hours, but spread over more than 38 weeks, as this may suit families more.

All childcare providers can choose to offer the full 15 or 30 hours, the universal 15 hours, or somewhere in between. The entitlement is for regular attendance, agreed between the parent and childcare provider.

Your chosen childcare provider will give you the necessary forms to claim the funding and they are responsible for sending these forms back to the Local Authority. Once the funding application is approved, the childcare provider will receive the funding directly.

Check if your child is eligible

To check your eligibility for the 15 or 30 hours funded childcare, visit the HMRC Childcare Choices website. If eligible, you will get a code to give to your childcare provider. Eligibility is re-checked every three months, and you will receive automatic reminders to do this.

Two year old Universal Entitlement for families in receipt of additional Government support 

In some circumstances, some two year old children may be eligible for funded childcare if they are from a family on low income. For more information, please visit the step by step guide on the Government's 'Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds' webpage or our funded childcare information pages.

Tax-free childcare

HMRC run a tax-free childcare scheme, which offers a 20% tax rebate on the portion of your income which you spend on childcare. Visit Childcare Choices for more information.

Childcare vouchers 

This scheme only applies for people who registered before April 2018. It is known as a 'salary sacrifice' scheme, whereby you save tax and NI paid through your salary on childcare costs.

Find out more

Organisations offering advice and support

Advice Guide – Self Help from Citizens Advice

Benefits calculator

Benefits for families

Child Benefit

Funded childcare for 2, 3 and 4 year olds 

Gingerbread (Single Parents, equal families)


Maternity and paternity rights

Maternity pay entitlement calculator

Maternity rights at work

Money Advice Service

Tax Credit information 

Universal Credit

Working Families (rights at work for parents and carers) Freephone: 0300 012 0312

B&NES Children's Centres

Our Children's Centres offer advice and support about various aspects of family life, such as the following:

  • Health (with particular focus on ante-natal care, breast feeding, obesity, and healthy lifestyles)
  • Early years development
  • Childminding groups
  • Messy play
  • Developing positive parenting
  • Early support groups (for children with additional needs or disabilities)

Find your nearest BathNES Children's Centre

Citizens Advice Bath and North East Somerset

Call 0844 848 7919 or see the Citizens Advice website. Appointments may also be available at your local Children’s Centre

Job Centre Plus

Call 0845 604 3719 or visit Somerset Hall, Somerset Street, Bath, BA1 1TS. Appointments may be available at local some Children’s Centres for people who are getting Income Support.