Parents must continue to reconfirm 30 hour funding
Further to our 30 hour funding update, we have received confirmation that HMRC are continuing to reconfirm 30 hour codes for parents that are furloughed or accessing the Self Employed Income Support Scheme. Parents may be choosing not to access the extended entitlement now but should complete their reconfirmation to ensure 30 hour funding is available for them, when needed. A break in eligibility may result in funding not being available when required.
Please see the communication below from DfE:
From 1 November, if a parent is temporarily not meeting the minimum income requirement for 30 hours free childcare and/or Tax-Free Childcare as a direct consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, they will be treated as eligible if they would normally meet the threshold and are in receipt of government coronavirus support schemes such as the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. We encourage all eligible parents to continue to apply for, and reconfirm, their 30 hours and Tax-Free Childcare entitlement, even if they have not been accessing their entitlement due to COVID-19. This will help to ensure parents have a smooth transition back into childcare when possible.
The 30 hours entitlement has a “grace period” built in to provide stability for children, parents and providers. Whilst in a grace period, a parent can reconfirm their eligibility through the Childcare Service and their 30 hours free entitlement would continue without a break. If a parent has not reconfirmed their eligibility, their 30 hours will finish at the “Grace Period End” date. They will remain eligible for the 15 hours universal entitlement for three and four year olds when 30 hour funding ends.
Providers should be aware of the grace period dates for each parent and should be encouraged to share these with parents who experience a change in eligibility status. Providers should be reminded to check eligibility dates carefully before agreeing a start date with parents. We have provided some examples regarding grace period end dates for 30 hours:
Sayeed was benefitting from his 30 hours entitlement from June whilst on furlough (CJRS), as his employer reduced his hours in response to COVID. He had a reconfirmation deadline of 8th November. He was informed by his employer he will not be put on the CJRS, and will instead be made redundant after 31st October. He was therefore found ineligible for 30 hours and TFC at his next reconfirmation (8th November), and entered a grace period for 30 hours. As his loss of eligibility fell in the second half of the autumn term, he can continue to use his 30 hours free childcare place until his grace period expires on 31st March 2021. If, at any point during his grace period, he secures another job that satisfies the income criteria, he can reconfirm his eligibility and continue with his access to his 30 hours place as normal.
Sophie had a valid 30 hours code for her three-year-old child, with a reconfirmation date of 1st October, but lost her job on 10th September. She remained eligible for 30 hours until her reconfirmation date, at which point she was unable to reconfirm due to unemployment. She then entered a grace period until the end of the autumn term (31st December 2020), as she became ineligible during the first half of the term.
Chris had been accessing the 30 hours minimum income easement since mid-July, when his employer furloughed him. With the extension of the furlough scheme until December, his employer confirmed he will remain on the CJRS. As he will be receiving support from a government support scheme, Chris can continue to claim his 30 hours, even though his income has reduced below the income threshold. He will reconfirm as usual through the Childcare Service application website and his continued eligibility will be verified by HMRC.