Service personnel wishing to benefit from Income Tax and National Insurance savings (who were not claiming before October 2018) are eligible to join the new Government Tax Free Childcare Scheme. This was introduced in September 2017 to replace all salary sacrifice schemes introduced since 1989.
The previous Childcare Voucher scheme closed to new joiners on 4 October 2018. Existing members can continue to use the scheme.
In addition to the universal entitlement to 15 hours (or 30 hours for eligible working parents) of free early education and childcare for children from the term after their third birthday, some English local authorities offer free hours of Ofsted registered childcare targeted to Service personnel with children aged two.
A significant number of nurseries are accommodated on the Defence estate at military bases aimed principally at ensuring nursery provision for Service personnel based at the location concerned. Such nurseries are not operated by Defence but are provided so that personnel have provision close to their place of work and close to their homes when accommodated in Service Families Accommodation. The provision may offer an array of benefits to Service personnel ranging from priority placement to preferential rates.
In those overseas locations where Service personnel and their dependants have no statutory entitlement to access host nation provision, the MOD has committed to mirror as far as is reasonably practicable the statutory provision that would have been available in England. Where MOD-provided overseas childcare facilities have sufficient capacity, three and four-year old children will be provided for free of charge within the UK guidelines. In overseas locations where there are no MOD-provided childcare facilities, or such facilities lack sufficient capacity, the additional entitlement will be provided through the MOD Overseas Nursery Allowance.