National Childcare Scheme

The National Childcare Scheme has been open for applications since November 20th 2019.

This scheme replaced several existing subsidy schemes – including the  Community Childcare Subvention Programme(CCS / CCSP )  and the Childcare Education and Training Support Programme (TEC).

Originally announced as part of Budget 2017 – a new “Affordable Childcare Scheme” was proposed to help families with payments of childcare.

In March 2019 the “Affordable” Childcare Scheme was relaunched with a new name- the National Childcare Scheme.

Details of the National Childcare Scheme :-

Note: only registered school-age childcare services will be able to provide services under the National Childcare Scheme.

Universal Subsidy

Every child between the ages of 24 weeks and 36 months in Tusla-registered childcare services is eligible for some level of childcare support. (Not means-tested). The universal payment provides 50c per hour towards the cost of a registered childcare place for a maximum of 45 hours per week.

Means-Tested Subsidies

The Means-tested childcare subsidies are based on net parental income and are available for children between 24 weeks and 15 years.  The rate you get will depend on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family. The subsidy can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 45 hours if you are working, studying or training, or in circumstances where you are unavailable for childcare, and a maximum of 20 hours if you are not working, studying or training.

Any family with a combined net parental income of less than €60,000 a year will qualify for some help.

For those above the net income threshold of €60,000, but with a child under 3 in regulated childcare, the scheme will still provide the universal payment of up to €1,040 per year.

Families with higher income may also qualify if they have more than 1 child under 15.

Calculation Examples

The maximum subsidy will be payable to all those with net incomes below  €2600 per annum.  (Net Income of  €500 per week).
Childcare subsidy Payments will be made directly to childcare providers, not parents.

The calculation of the childcare subsidy is based on the net income of the household, the number of children and the ages of the children.

As net family income rises above €26,600 – the subsidy will decrease. A family with one child under 15 and net annual income over €60,000 a year will not qualify for the means-tested subsidy. See below for details of Net income calculations.

Some Examples of Subsidy Calculations .

a)  Lone parent,  with a net annual income of €26,000 , with one child aged 2 years in need of 40 hours of childcare per week.  Will get €175 per week subsidy. (€9,100 a year)

b). Family with gross income of €64,000 and a net annual income of €43,200 ,  with two children: One aged 5 who needs 17 hours of after school care a week and a 2-year-old needing  40 hours of childcare per week.  They will  get €128 per week subsidy. (€6656 a year)

c)  Family with net annual income of  €51,400  (Gross of €90,000) with three children aged 2,2 and 1. (40 hours childcare each per week)  . They will  get €176 per week subsidy. (€9152 a year)

d) A Two parent family with a combined income of €26,000 with two children (7 and 1 years old);
The subsidy rate available for a 7-year-old child is €3.75 per hour. The family could qualify for a maximum of 18 hours to claim per week during term time. This equates to a maximum subsidy of €292.50 a month towards their childcare.

The subsidy rate available for a 1 year old child is €4.35 per hour. The family could qualify for a maximum of 45 hours to claim per week. This equates to a maximum subsidy of €848.25 a month towards their childcare.

Child Care Subsidy Ireland


Applications can be made at

You will need –

  • A verified MyGovID account
  • The date of birth and Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) for each of the children you are applying for

    You can call the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 for more information.

Universal Payment

A Universal Child Care payment will apply to childcare fees for children aged under three years old. The hourly rate for this is 50c – with the maximum annual of  €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 this minimum of 50c per hour towards childcare for the above age groups – regardless of income.

The free preschool programme (also known as ECCE, the Early Childhood Care and Education programme) will not be affected by the National Childcare Scheme and will continue to operate.

Calculation of Net Income for the National Childcare Scheme
Net Income is after deductions of  Tax, PRSI, USC, and any allowable items listed below …

  • A  Discount of €4,300 for families with 2 children under the age of 15.
  • A  Discount of €8,600 for families with 3 or more children under 15.
  • Pension contributions, up to the limit allowed by Revenue as a deduction from tax.
  • Maintenance payments made in respect of a child or former spouse.
  • Certain social protection payments:
  • Aftercare Allowance
  • Further education and training allowances provided by the Education and Training Boards
  • Back to Education Allowance
  • Guardian’s Payment
  • Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
  • Humanitarian Assistance Scheme
  • Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
  • Mobility Allowance
  • Back to Work Family Dividend
  • Blind Welfare Allowance
  • Personal Reader Grant
  • Caranua services support
  • Rent Supplement
  • Carer’s Support Grant
  • Short-Term Enterprise Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Springboard
  • Department of Education and Skills Third Level Bursary Scheme
  • Student Assistance Fund
  • Diet Supplement
  • Student grant (SUSI)
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme
  • Exceptional Needs Payments
  • Youthreach Allowance
  • Foster Care Allowance

When an applicant qualifies, they will be provided with a unique code which they can then take to any registered childcare provider participating in the Scheme. This code is called the CHICK (Childcare Identifier Code Key)

Once the parent and the provider have agreed the hours of childcare required, the provider will register the code on the Scheme’s online system in order to redeem the subsidy.

2 thoughts on “National Childcare Scheme

Comments are closed.