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. The new scheme is due to start in September 2017.
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.
The government say that Childcare services across the country will be be invited , in May 2017, to be part of childcare changes which will see families benefit by an extra €19m from September.
This scheme will replace the existing subsidy schemes – including the Community Childcare Subvention Programme , After-School Child Care Scheme and the Childcare Education and Training Support Programme.
Payments will be made directly to childcare providers , not parents
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).
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 .
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
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.