As the school holidays fast approach, many parents face having to organise extra school holiday childcare over the summer months. Working families can use the Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) scheme to help if they have children aged up to 11 years old (17 for those with certain disabilities).
The TFC scheme helps support working families with their childcare costs and can be used to pay for accredited holiday clubs, childminders or sports activities during the school holidays. There are many registered childcare providers including school, football, art and tennis clubs signed up across the UK. Parents can pay into their account regularly and save up their TFC allowance to use during school holidays.
The TFC scheme provides for a government top-up on parental contributions. For every £8 contributed by parents an additional £2 top up payment will be funded by Government up to a maximum total of £10,000 per child per year. This will give parents an annual savings of up to £2,000 per child (and up to £4,000 for disabled children until the age of 17) in childcare costs.
The TFC scheme is open to all qualifying parents including the self-employed and those on a minimum wage. The scheme is also available to parents on paid sick leave as well as those on paid and unpaid statutory maternity, paternity and adoption leave. In order to be eligible to use the scheme parents will have to be in work at least 16 hours per week and earn at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. If either parent earns more than £100,000, both parents are unable to use the scheme.