30 hours extended entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds
In addition to the universal entitlement, working parents of 3 and 4 year olds may also be able to benefit from an additional entitlement of up to 15 hours per week over 38 weeks or a total of 570 hours in each 12 month period from the date the child becomes eligible. This is called the extended entitlement or the 30 hours free childcare.
Together the universal and extended entitlements make a total of 1,140 free hours which eligible 3 and 4 year olds are entitled to in a funded year over a minimum of 38 weeks.
These hours can be stretched over more than 38 weeks which will reduce the number of free hours each week. For example:
- 38 weeks at 30 hours per week
- 45 weeks at 25 hours 20 minutes per week
- 50 weeks at 22 hours and 48 minutes per week
This could help cover school holidays for example.
If your child attends more than one childcare provider it is possible that you will have stretched hours with one provider and standard hours with another, as long as the total hours do not exceed 1,140 hours in your child’s eligible funding year.
Check if you qualify
The government has set out the criteria that parents of 3 and 4 year olds must meet in order to be eligible for 30 hours free childcare.
View the eligibility criteria on GOV.UK.
If you are no longer eligible
If your working status changes, for example you are made redundant - your child can continue to have the additional free hours until you are asked to reconfirm your status by HMRC.
If at the time of reconfirming your status you do not qualify for the extended entitlement, there will be a ‘grace period’ which allows for changes to your working status such as starting another job.
The grace period end date will automatically be applied to eligibility codes and will be determined as per the table below.
Date parent receives ineligible decision on reconfirmation
Local Authority audit date
Grace period end date
1 January to 10 February
11 February to 31 March
1 April to 26 May
27 May to 31 August
1 September to 21 October
22 October to 31 December
We will inform childcare providers of children who no longer meet the eligibility criteria and their grace periods. Childcare providers will then talk to parents about any changes to attendance patterns and payment options.
If you have any queries about eligibility for the extended entitlement, call the HMRC Customer Interaction Centre on 0300 123 4097.