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  1. ITV Report

First-time parent? Here's what you are entitled to

Video report by ITV National Editor Allegra Stratton

Social Mobility and Child Poverty research shows half of first time mothers do not know what Childcare is available to them.

More than half (57%) of working class mothers said they would like to work more hours but the perceived cost of childcare was a deterrent.

Mothers may be able to get government help to pay for childcare, but it must be on the 'approved childcare' list.

Parents may be entitled to tax credits, childcare vouchers and free childcare hours for two to four-year-olds.

If you are confused by the system, here's a guide to what you are entitled to:

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  • Tax credits

Parents may be able to get extra tax credits to help pay towards childcare costs while at work.

Depending on your income, you can get up to £122.50 extra per week for one child, or £210 extra for two or more children.

You can use the tax credits childcare calculator to work out what you are entitled to claim.

  • Childcare vouchers

You may be able to get help from your employer using childcare vouchers or other schemes.

You may have to pay tax and national insurance on some kinds of help from your employer.

People can get up to £55 a week from childcare vouchers, depending on how much you earn and when you joined the scheme.

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  • Free education for two to four-year-olds

All three to four-year-olds in England can get 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year - usually taken as 15 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year.

Some two-year-olds are eligible for this benefit if you receiving some other types of benefits such as Income Support or Disability Living Allowance.

The free education can be at all types of nurseries, playgroups, childminders and Sure Start centres.

Your local council can give you more information on free education.

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  • What rights do you have as a parent in the workplace?

As an employee you are allowed time off to deal with an emergency if it involves your children. For example, if your child fell ill and you had to take them to the doctor.

However, you may not be allowed time off if you knew about the situation beforehand and this may fall under unpaid parental leave.

If you are not given time off for your children, you may be able to take compassionate leave.

It is worth reading your employment contract fully to understand your personal situation and rights.

If you think your employer is treating you unfairly you can speak to your union or Acas.