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The Government’s New Childcare Policy and How It’s Affecting the Childcare Sector

In our current economic climate, it’s safe to say that most people are looking for ways to cut costs and save themselves a bit of money. And for working parents, the government come bearing good news.

The government are planning to introduce a new policy that will make more parents eligible for free childcare hours. In some cases, the number of free childcare hours will also increase.

Whilst the new funding for childcare is seen as largely positive by many, there are some concerns from the childcare sector that this will add more pressure to childcare businesses already struggling to meet increased demands.

What is the new childcare scheme?

By September 2025, working parents will be able to claim 30 hours of free childcare a week, over 38 weeks of the year, all the way through from nine months up to their child starting school.

When does the new childcare scheme start?

This new policy will be rolled out gradually over the next year and a half. 

  • From April 2024 – working parents of two-year-olds will be able to access 15 hours of free childcare
  • From September 2024 – 15 hours of free childcare will be extended down to the age of nine months for working parents
  • From September 2025 – working parents of children aged nine months and upwards will be entitled to 30 hours of free childcare per week right up until their child starts school

Who is eligible under this new policy?

Working parents who individually earn more than £8,670 but less than £100,000 per year are eligible for free childcare.

For couples, the rules apply to both parents. Meaning that you must both earn at least £8,670 and neither one of you can earn more than £100,000.

How does the new policy impact the childcare sector?

Whilst the government promise that nurseries are set to receive a £204 million cash boost as part of a larger investment in childcare, dealing with an influx of children who require childcare will be no mean feat.

Nurseries have long been facing a recruitment crisis, with a large shortage of qualified and experienced staff. This means that there are fewer people available to care for children. And although increased funding will be useful, it doesn’t entirely solve the issues faced by nurseries looking to hire.

With that being said, businesses in this sector will likely be in a rush to hire, and, as recruitment experts, we understand this can often lead to missing key steps in the recruitment process.

For example, most people in this line of work would require an Enhanced DBS Checkby law to ensure that they’re safe to work with children. Not to mention that businesses also need to make sure that each employee has a Right to Work. If any of these checks are missed out because of rushed recruitment, employers could face fines, reputational damage, and significant implications to their day-to-day business.

How you can recruit & retain the right way

Ultimately, although times are tough and workload looks set to increase for businesses in the childcare sector, it’s important that you recruit right. It’s not an area you can take shortcuts in without risking the jeopardy of your business. 

Businesses in this sector should also look at their plan to retain staff. What are you doing to keep them engaged with your business? Are you offering them any perks that they couldn’t get elsewhere? Are you regularly catching up with staff and hearing their thoughts and suggestions? Any ways you can increase staff retention will help you soften your recruitment requirements.

Employment checks support with uCheck

If you need a helping hand with your employment checks, such as DBS ChecksRight to Work Checks, or Identity Checks, we’re here to help. Here at uCheck, we make background checks simple for over 30,000 organisations just like yours, and we can help you confidently recruit the best talent.

To see how we can help your business, contact us today at info@ucheck.co.uk or call us on 0300 140 0022.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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