I'm not sure which topic to post this under but giving this one a try first! I'm currently pregnant with our second child and our first will have just turned 2 when it is born. I work part time and he goes to nursery 2 days per week which we obviously pay for. My employers only offer statutory maternity pay and we'd really like to keep him in nursery while I'm on maternity leave, I know this may seem like a luxury but the main reason is for his learning and development, keeping routine consistent but also for my sanity too! He's learnt so much that I couldn't teach him since being there and it seems backwards to take him out for 9 months to a year.
Dropping income down to statutory maternity pay will be a big reduction in income for us and it'll be a struggle to cover nursery costs as well as mortgage and other bills so I'm just wondering if anyone knew whether you were able to claim any help with childcare costs during this period? if so how do you go about it? I've searched online and it implies maybe you can but then a benefit calculator said we'd be entitled to nothing!
If we can't, we can't but it would be a massive help if there was some support out there as he won't yet be entitled to his free hours.
Tax-Free Childcare is worth a look if you are not claiming tax credits/universal credit. You will need to check the eligibility criteria but being on SMP I think still makes you eligible for childcare help for your eldest child.