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14th Mar 2024

Parents can save €5,000 in childcare bills under National Childcare Scheme

Jody Coffey


Parents should apply for whichever subsidy is of the greatest benefit to them and their families

Parents can save a minimum of €5,000 from their childcare bill under the National Childcare Scheme (NCS).

The NCS provides financial support to help families with early learning and childcare costs.

Families using Tusla childcare services have been encouraged to ensure they are getting their full entitlement to subsidies, which have the potential to cut their childcare bills down each year.

There are two types of subsidies available for children aged between 24 weeks and 15 years of age:

  • A universal subsidy: this is not means-tested and provides €1.40 per hour for a maximum of 45 hours per week;
  • An income-assessed subsidy: this is means-tested and will be calculated based on your family’s individual circumstances. Rates will vary depending on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family.

The minimum hourly subsidy is €1.40 an hour but in September, it will increase to €2.14.

Families using full-time care (45 hours a week) can receive a minimum of €5,000 a year off their bill per child.

Many families can receive an Income Assessed Award (based on household income), up to €12,000 per year for those using full-time care.

Speaking ahead of the Easter holidays, when many parents will be reliant on further childcare, Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, wanted to make parents aware of the scheme.

“While thousands of parents are receiving subsidies, many will be unaware they can use their subsidy for more hours than usual during mid-term and holidays, or even to cover one-off camps.

“There are almost 4,000 providers across the country eligible to receive your subsidy. I would strongly encourage all parents or guardians to talk to their provider about their subsidies and extra hours over the holiday period if needed.”

You can apply online for the subsidy here.

You can also contact the Parent Support Centre on 01 906 8530 to request a postal application.

Once your application is approved, you can use your subsidy with any participating childcare provider, including childminders, who are registered with Tusla.

A subsidy calculator is available here to help estimate how much you may be eligible for before you apply.