Affordable Child Care Scheme

As part of Budget 2017 – a new Single Affordable ChildCare Scheme was announced to help families with payments for creche and nursery fees and other types of childcare such as after school care.

Implementation Delays:
The new scheme was due to start in September 2017but the full rollout now looks like it will be delayed for at least a few months.
However – in the meantime  there will  still be financial changes (increases) to existing childcare subsidies from this September . These changes should be calculated automatically for existing users of the subsidy schemes. (There is no need to apply for the increases).

See – Details of the temporary Changes to childcare subsidies from September 2017

The Government say that eventually , when the  existing  childcare subsidy schemes are amalgamated and become the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme , a new IT system will be launched. Comprehensive consultation and supports will be put in place in the lead up to such changes.

Eventually – under the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme – every child between the ages of 6 months and 36 months in Tusla-registered childcare services will be eligible for some level of childcare support.

This scheme will replace the existing  subsidy schemes – including the  Community Childcare Subvention Programme(CCS / CCSP )  and the Childcare Education and Training Support Programme (TEC).
The “Programmes Implementation Platform” (PIP) is the online system used by childcare providers to carry out  complete the administration associated with the national childcare funding programmes .


Calculation Details for Single Affordable Childcare Scheme (Planned)

The new Means-tested childcare subsidies, will be based on net parental income, and will be available for children between 6 months and 15 years.  Any family with a combined net parental income of less than €47,501 a year will qualify for some help.
(We assume Child Benefit is not included in net income.)

Families with higher income may also qualify if they have more than 1 child under 15. For example – the income threshold for a family with 3 children under 15 will be €55,100 .

The maximum proposed  rate of subsidy should result in parents only having to contribute on average  30c per hour towards childcare costs. This maximum subsidy will be payable to all those with net incomes below  €22,700 per annum.  (Net Income of  €436 per week).

Payments will be made directly to childcare providers , not parents

The Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs based their figures on estimated average childcare fees of €4.50 per hour . Based on a 40 hour week – that would mean parents paying just €12 for 40 hours of childcare per week if they qualify for the maximum rate of subsidy.

As family income rises above €22,700 – the subsidy will decrease. A family with one child under 15 and net annual income over €47,500 a year will not qualify for the means tested subsidy.
The income thresholds increase by €3800 for each extra child under 15  –  so a family with three children under 15 years would have a maximum net income threshold of €55,100.

Some Examples of How the Single Subsidy Scheme Would Work
(All based on hourly charges of €4.80 for 1 yr olds, €4.60 for 2 yr olds and 44.40 for school age)

a)  Lone parent, net annual income of €22,700,
One child aged 2, having 40 hours of childcare per week
Under the existing  schemes, this family would qualify for a subsidy of €95 per week and would be paying  €89 per week.
Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €167 and would be expected to pay just  €17 a week towards childcare. A gain of €72 per week.

b). Family with net annual income of €25,000, two children aged 1 and
2.5 years needing 25 hours of childcare per week per child.
Under  existing  schemes, this family could qualify for a total subsidy of €95 a week , leaving them with €140 per week to pay.
Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €214 , leaving just €21 a week to pay. A gain of €119 a week.

c) Family with net annual income of €35,000,  two children aged 1 and 2.5 years getting 25 hours of childcare per week each.
Under the existing schemes, this family would  qualify for a total subsidy of €50 per week , leaving them with  €185 per week to pay.
Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €149 ,leaving them to pay €86 a week – a gain of €99 per week.

d)  Family with net annual income of €47,500, with two children, one aged 2 years (40 hours childcare per week) and another aged 5 years (17 hours out-of-school care per week).
Under the existing  schemes, this family is unlikely to get any subsidy, and therefore would have to pay the full fee of €259 per week. Under the new scheme, this family will qualify for a weekly subsidy of €52 and will have to pay  €207 .

Child Care Subsidy Ireland


Other examples of  Income Levels and Child Care Subsidy
(Figures provided by Dept of Children and Youth Affairs)
In this example we have a family with 2 children aged 2 and 4. The 2 year old has 40 hours a week child care and the 4 year old has 25 hours on top of the ECCE scheme.

Net Income                        Childcare Subsidy
Weekly Amount

€18,000                                €266
€26,580                                €265
€33,697                                 €195
€39,264                                 €139
€45,514                                 €77
€51,764                                 €20


A Universal Child Care payment will apply to childcare fees for children aged between 6 months and three years old. The proposed maximum rate for this is €900 a year for full time childcare. (Based on €0.50 an hour , 40 hours a week , 45 weeks of the year)
All families will be able to get a this minimum of 50c per hour towards childcare for the above age groups – regardless of income.
See – Details of the temporary Changes to childcare subsidies from September 2017

20 thoughts on “Affordable Child Care Scheme

  1. This is so depressing!! Both my husband and I are the average 30-something “middle class” workers on 34/40k a year, one child in the creche at nearly 1000€ a month and another child on the way, like many other commenters we basically work to pay for childcare and house rent! We were hoping to buy a house as the mortgage would be lower than the rent but no, childcare costs are counted, so you get a mortgage so low you can’t afford anything; oh but you have the 20k grant for first time buyers! Only, it’s for new homes only, and has anyone seen the price of new homes?? Really, we’re stuck in a loop, if they want us mothers to just leave our jobs to look after the children at home they could just say it and spare us this mocking treatment! But no, I have to go to work to keep my family (and my dignity) going, while my neighbours on social welfare who look perfectly fit to me and have never worked a day in their life can go around in designer clothes and enjoy several trips abroad in a year…

  2. Came on here to see how I would save, found out I won’t. Doesn’t pay to work does it. Ditto Michelle, Siobhan,Nollaig etc

  3. I think it is time that this government is starting to immediately address the issue of middle range wage earners not receiving what is due to them after having carried the burden of the recession for far too long. We need free childcare/afterschool, free breakfast clubs, holiday assistance (20 days versus 3-4 months off for the kids is very hard on working parents income) and lets face it a proper and fair middle earner tax bracket, which currently is non existing. Probably they believe that we are so busy working that we are the only ones not speak up, so that we can just be ignored. It is a disgrace! It needs to stop! Like others, I have been working hard and paying tax for 20 years, 1 1/2 years ago my job was made “redundant” and I immediately had to get something new, I had no choice but to accept less than a third of my previous salary which put me right into the working poverty line. I am an educated full time working single mum and get no top up payments or assistance as I am always just above their earning bands. I don’t have any family to rely on and it hurts that I always have to work my heart and soul out and get no return, no proper financially stable future for me and my son. When I am lucky, I shop in charity shops for work clothes (only when they have specials for 3 items for 5 Euro on) and I had to move out of the city with my young son into a house with no running water and broken windows because the cost of living has risen so much in the city it is not keeping in line with salaries, we again had no choice I could not afford it. I will also get no assistance for repairs because I would have to outlay everything first as per current schemes, which is great when you are rich, but not poor. At least we are not in a hostel…yet but I could never tell anyone this face to face. I have some pride left. My disposable income is in the minus figures each month without any luxuries unless petrol, insurance, accommodation and food are now luxuries, which in all fairness they are for us. We cut where we can but seriously there is nothing left to cut. I often go to work hungry, so that my child has food in his lunch box. That’s the priority for me.
    I am being bombarded with “voluntary” school contributions and requests for school trips as if nothing has changed in the world. At least I have my sons childminder to depend on. I have visited the creches in the area, which were way out of my price league and also very unwelcoming. No chance would they even consider looking after my son for an extra couple of minutes if I was ever stuck in traffic (but hey we don’t really have any problems with traffic, do we?) In some creches, I had serious concerns in regards to processes and staff. The places I saw felt like institutions, but I know of course there are also very good and well managed creches out there too. But I have a right to choose my own childcare for my son and I should have the right to pay any benefits directly to this person to ensure they are properly rewarded for their work. I am not disputing the people with lower incomes should also benefit fairly. But under the current set up my ex who has been claiming social welfare since our break up and his girlfriend will completely benefit, just as they already did with free GP, medical card, early years and study fees for her. They live rent free in an inherited house, go out every weekend drinking and partying. I don’t even have free GP care for my son and pray each week no one gets sick in our little family. How unfair is Ireland that not every child and family benefits equally fairly? The current system breaches children’s and parent’s rights and needs to be changed now and not in 2020…

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