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Help with childcare costs and other support for families

Man and woman with child putting money in to a piggy bank. Links to Help with childcare costs and other support for families

There are times when combining work and looking after children can be challenging, but there is support available to help you make your job work for you.

If you are a parent looking to get into work, or increase your working hours and earn more, you could receive help with the cost of childcare. This could this mean that more job opportunities are open to you, and it might make it a little easier to juggle family with a fulfilling role at work.

(If you are looking for information about working in childcare and early education, find out more on our childcare sector page.)

Universal Credit and childcare

  • If you are working and claiming Universal Credit, you can get help with the costs of childcare, no matter how many hours you work. You may be able to claim up to 85 per cent of your childcare costs.

Additional support now available

  • Working parents on Universal Credit are now able to receive further financial help with their childcare costs. This could be up to £1,014 for 1 child, or up to £1,739 for 2 or more children.
  • Eligible parents claiming Universal Credit may also be able to get help with their childcare costs upfront.
  • Parents who are moving into work or increasing their working hours should speak to their Universal Credit work coach who can provide more information.
  • Find out how Universal Credit support with childcare costs helped Victoria find the right job for her.
  • Find out more about Universal Credit childcare costs on GOV.UK (external website).

Childcare choices

  • There is a range of Government help with the costs of childcare, such as tax-free childcare or 15- or 30-hours free childcare. Whether you have toddlers or teens, you could get support. Find out more at Childcare choices (external website).

Work options for parents

Are you a parent looking to get back into work? Or are you thinking about finding a new role more suited to your lifestyle and family responsibilities? There are a range of options you could consider. Here is some information and advice to help get you started.

Flexible working  

  • If you aren’t able to work full time, it doesn’t mean that you can’t work at all.
  • Many employers offer flexible working which includes job sharing and part time hours, so you can still be working and earning in a way that suits you and your family. They may also offer the opportunity to work from home or in a location that’s convenient for you.
  • Find out more about the types of flexible arrangements available and how they may help you on our flexible working page.

Develop your skills   

The skills you’ve developed as a parent could be of huge value to employers. But if you want to refresh or build on your skills, or maybe try something completely new, here are some options.

  • The Skills for Careers (external website) website can help you find new learning opportunities and qualifications to improve your chances of finding work. This covers all sorts of learning, from short refreshers to Skills Bootcamps for specific sectors, to apprenticeships where you learn while doing a real job.
  • Find out more about opportunities that allow you to work whilst training on our skills and work-based training page.

Getting back to work

  • If you’re not sure where to start with your job search, follow our seven steps to improve your chances of finding work. These cover how to find out what you’re good at, to writing your CV and onto applying for jobs.
  • Need to update your CV or create a new one? Our CVs and covering letters page can help.
  • Some industries have more jobs available than others, and some have more flexible working opportunities. You can read more about these on our sectors pages. There’s also information to help you get started in an industry you haven’t worked in before.
  • Use the Find a Job (external website). With Find a Job you can create a profile, upload your CV and receive email alerts about new and existing jobs in a sector that works for you.
  • There are plenty of other job sites available too. Try searching for ‘jobs’ in Google or make your search more specific to find the right vacancies for you, like ‘retail jobs in Leeds’.

Think about voluntary work   

Financial support for families

  • Whether you look after children already, or plan to have or adopt a child, you may be eligible for other support for your family (external website). Includes maternity and paternity pay, Child Benefit, support for disabled children and free school meals.