Childcare gap for parents of 1-year-olds

Parents with children under the age of 2 have seen childcare costs soar by 48% between 2008 and 2016, according to research.

TUC analysis shows the average income of parents with a 1-year-old rose by 12% in cash terms, although childcare costs grew 4 times quicker over the same period.

In England, working parents with 3 and 4-year-old children are entitled to claim 30 hours of free childcare each week, which saves the average working family up to £5,000 a year.

While many parents with children aged 2 and above are entitled to receive support from the state, those with 1-year-olds get no financial help from the government.

Statutory maternity leave entitles parents to take up to a year off work to care for their newborn, with statutory maternity pay for eligible parents for 39 weeks.

But the gap between when statutory maternity pay ends and state assistance begins can potentially last up to 65 weeks, with parents having to fill the void.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said:

"There is a real gap in childcare support for 1-year-olds until government assistance kicks in at age 2.

"Parents need subsidised, affordable childcare from as soon as maternity leave finishes to enable them to continue working, and so mums don't continue to have to make that choice between having a family and a career."

What are you entitled to?

Depending on the terms of your contract with your employer, you may be entitled to more than statutory minimum maternity leave following the birth of your child.

For disadvantaged 2-year-olds and all children aged 3 and 4 in England, parents can claim 15 hours of free childcare each week from the state.

That doubles to 30 hours of free childcare each week for parents who are in work.

In both cases the amount of free childcare covers 38 weeks, which coincides with term time.

Talk to us about your tax-free childcare options.