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Tax-Free Childcare and Shared Parental Leave and Pay

The UK Government offers support to families through tax-free childcare and shared parental leave and pay.

Tax-Free Childcare

Tax-Free Childcare is a government top-up that helps with childcare costs. For every £8 you pay towards regulated childcare, the government will add an extra £2, up to £2,000 per child. If you have a disabled child, you can receive up to £4,000 per child.

This benefit is not dependent on your employer and is available to self-employed individuals. It is available to eligible people across Scotland with children under 12 (or under 17 if your child is disabled).

To access Tax-Free Childcare, you will need to set up an account. Once registered, you can sign in to pay money into your account, pay your childcare provider, and apply to include a new child.

Shared parental leave and pay

Shared parental leave and pay allow parents to balance work and family life. The UK Government has introduced changes enabling parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay. They can also take their leave and pay more flexibly.

Each parent can take up to three blocks of leave, potentially more if their employer allows. Parents can intersperse periods of leave with periods of work if they wish.

Eligible parents can be off work together for up to six months or stagger their leave and pay so that one parent is always at home with their baby during the first year.

While it's important to discuss your plans with your employer, remember that if you are eligible for shared parental leave, you have a legal right to take it.

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.


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