The Employer Supported Childcare (ESC) scheme will close to new entrants on 4 October 2018.
After this time, only the government's new Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme will be available.
If you are already a member of the ESC scheme, you will continue to receive childcare vouchers or the use of employer-provided childcare for as long as your employer chooses to provide the scheme. Alternatively, you may wish to switch to the new TFC scheme. However, parents cannot be in both the ESC scheme and the TFC scheme at the same time.
TFC was introduced in April 2017 and, unlike ESC, is available for both employees and those who are self-employed.
Under the TFC initiative, the tax relief available is 20% of the costs of childcare, up to total childcare costs of £10,000 per child per year. The scheme is therefore worth a maximum of £2,000 per child (£4,000 for a disabled child). Parents of children aged under 12 are eligible to apply for TFC (this rises to age 17 for children with disabilities).
In order to qualify for the new scheme, both working parents must meet the following conditions:
- You must have a minimum income of £125 a week
- You must work a minimum of 16 hours a week
- Each parent must earn less than £100,000 per year
- You must not already be receiving Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit.
The same conditions apply for single parents.
Eligible parents can apply for TFC via the government's Childcare Choices website.
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