A recent survey suggested that the cost of holiday childcare has risen 4% since 2016 to an average of £125 per week. It can be even more challenging for those of us in Northern Ireland with school holidays longer than our counterparts in mainland GB.
Finding affordable childcare can be extremely difficult, so below you will find some simple steps that may help you find affordable childcare be that for the summer or if you are returning to work.
Check your entitlements
There are a range of benefits available. There is a childcare element of working tax credit which is designed to help working parents to cover the cost of their childcare. The eligibility criteria are not that straightforward to understand so it’s best if you check the Government’s online system here.
Free early years childcare
Three and four-year olds get two and half hours of free childcare – although it is referred to as nursery provision. This is in stark contrast to what they offer in other regions with English parents being offered up to 30 hours per week from September 2017. So, make sure you are making full use of a nursery place.
Some employers welcome childcare vouchers. They are available to all working parents which are implemented through a ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme. You could save up to £1800 per year and are available for children up to age 15, or 16 if your child has a disability.
If you have decided to go back to work part time, why not consider sharing childcare with a friend? If you are both part-time it may be possible to work out childcare together which will help reduce the costs.
School holiday provision
Summer can be tough on the family budget if you pay for childcare. Not everyone can take time off for the whole summer or pay for childcare. Check out your local Council to see what’s happening in your area from low cost summer schemes to summer camps.
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