EY: DfE: Changes to the application process for parents starting or returning to work

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Apr 26 2024

Please see message below from DfE:

We’ve made a change to the Childcare Regulations to extend the application window for those who are planning to start a new job or return to work from parental leave. This includes maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave or pay.  

Previously parents were only able to apply for an eligibility code 31 days before the date they started new work or returned to work from parental leave. 

As part of the rollout of the entitlements, parents who plan to start or return to work on or before 31 September 2024 will be able to apply for a code from 12 May, alongside other parents who intend to take up a place in September.  

Parents in this situation will need to apply online as normal but will then receive a letter in the post, enabling them to access their entitlement.

Those parents who plan to start or return to work between 1 October 2024 and 31 January 2024 will be able to apply for a code from 1 September 2024 to use from 1 January 2025. 

In future terms, parents will be able to apply from the following dates: 

Date of starting or
returning work

When can parents
apply from

When parents can use entitlements from 

1 May to 31 September 

1 April to 31 August 

1 September 

1 October to 31 January 

1 September to 31 December 

1 January 

1 February to 30 April 

1 January to 31 March 

1 April 


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