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Help with childcare

The UK Government is helping households with tax-free childcare and shared parental leave and pay.

Childcare Choices

Parents can find out what they’re eligible for with the UK Government’s childcare calculator and by visiting

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is a UK Government top-up to help with costs.

For every £8 you pay towards regulated childcare – whether nurseries, nannies, childminders, after school or holiday clubs, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000.  If you have a disabled child, you can receive up to £4,000 per child.

This is not dependent on your employer offering it and is open to the self-employed.  It is available to eligible people across Scotland with children under the age of 12 (under 17 if your child is disabled).

You will need to set up an account to pay for your Tax-Free Childcare.  Once you have registered, simply sign in to:

  • pay money into your account
  • pay your childcare provider
  • apply to include a new child
Get tax-free childcare - external link

Shared parental leave and pay

Sharing parental leave and pay can help parents to combine work with family life.  The UK Government has introduced changes so parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay and take their leave and pay in a more flexible way.

Each parent can take up to three blocks of leave – more if their employer allows – and parents are able to intersperse periods of leave with periods of work if they wish.

Eligible parents can be off work together for up to 6 months or alternatively stagger their leave and pay so that one of them is always at home with their baby in the first year.

You should discuss your plans with your employer, but remember that if you are eligible for shared parental leave you have a legal right to take it.

Find out more about shared parental leave - external link

More information

If you’re a childcare provider, find out what you need to know at

Find further help and advice on the Scottish Government’s Parent Club website.

Explore other UK Government support for households.