I’m unemployed and want to get back to work but my son is in primary school, which makes it difficult to be available all day for work or training. Can I get help with childcare for after-school hours?
If you go on an employment support scheme, go back to work or increase the number of days you work, you may be able to avail of the After-School Child Care Scheme. The scheme provides subsidised after-school childcare places with local childcare providers and is for primary school children aged 4 to 13.
To qualify for the scheme you must be getting Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or One-Parent Family Payment, or be on an employment support programme. You must have been getting one of these qualifying payments (or a combination of the 4) for at least three months.
If you get a place, you can get after-school childcare for up to five days a week at a daily rate of €3 per child. The scheme includes a pick-up service. You can get up to 52 weeks of childcare while you remain eligible for the scheme. If you use the scheme during the school year, you can also get up to 10 weeks’ full-time childcare during the holidays.
You can apply and get more information at your local Intreo centre or social welfare office. You can apply up to 26 weeks after you start your new job, take up additional employment or start your employment support scheme.
The scheme is not available to Community Employment scheme participants who can apply for the CE Childcare Programme instead.
For vocational training with an Education and Training Board, the Childcare Education and Training Support Programme offers subsidised childcare.
If you don’t qualify for these schemes you may be eligible for the Community Childcare Subvention Programme, which offers childcare at a reduced cost to parents who are disadvantaged or in training, education or low paid work.
Know Your Rights columns cover topical subjects every month in a question-and-answer format. They are published by the Citizens Information Board online and syndicated through Citizens Information Services to local newspapers around Ireland.
Further information is available from Citizens Information Centres and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, call 0761 07 4000.