Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
National Childcare Scheme
348. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if allowance has been made for an increase in the income thresholds for the national childcare scheme; and the thresholds of proposed increases. [30295/20]
Allowance has been made within the design of the National Childcare Scheme for potential changes to be made to the income thresholds. The Scheme has been designed to be flexible, with income thresholds, maximum hours and subsidy rates which can be adjusted in line with Government decisions and as more investment becomes available. As such, any adjustments deemed necessary by Government can be carried out in a quick and responsive manner.
Currently, for income-assessed awards under the Scheme, the highest levels of subsidy will go to families at or below the minimum reckonable income threshold of €26,000, with the level of subsidy tapering down smoothly as income rises towards the maximum net income threshold of €60,000.
The Scheme also offers a universal subsidy which is unrelated to parental income. The universal subsidy is available to all parents of children aged between 24 weeks and 36 months (or until the child qualifies for the Early Childhood Care and Education programme if later). The universal subsidy is set at a rate of €0.50 per hour and is available for up to 45 hours per week. The universal subsidy is based on the child’s age, and not on income. Parents do not have to undergo an assessment of income to avail of this subsidy.