Additional funding for early learning and childcare staff

Investing in Scotland’s childcare workforce.

High quality, accessible and affordable childcare is a key part of driving equality in the workplace and tackling the gender pay gap, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said.

On a visit to mark International Women’s Day 2024, the First Minister announced £16 million of additional investment to enable people delivering funded early learning and childcare in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) childcare sectors, to be paid at least £12 per hour from April 2024.

Guidance published today confirms how this funding will be allocated. This is part of efforts to deliver the Scottish Government’s Fair Work agenda and to support sustainability in the childcare sector.

The First Minister confirmed the funding on a visit to TASK Childcare in Glasgow with the Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise, Natalie Don. Today’s announcement reflects the United Nations’ designated theme for International Women’s Day 2024: 'Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress' with a focus on addressing economic disempowerment.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said:

“This International Women’s Day, I’m proud the Scottish Government’s cabinet has a majority of women and to have appointed Kaukab Stewart as the first woman of colour to hold a ministerial role in Scotland. In 2024, it is vital the Scottish Government represents modern Scotland. 

“We have made great progress to prioritise and accelerate gender equality across our country. We rightly no longer question what women can accomplish but we should always question whether we are doing enough to remove barriers that too many women in our society continue to face. 

“Evidence shows that a lack of affordable and accessible childcare for many women with children will result in too many women leaving the workforce, working part time or taking up work in inflexible employment which pays less and doesn’t make best use of their skills. That is why my government is prioritising additional investment of £16 million in Scotland’s childcare workforce.

“The Scottish Government has already delivered the most generous early learning and childcare offer on these islands and high quality, accessible and affordable childcare is a key part of our goal to drive equality in Scotland’s workforce and tackle the gender pay gap.

“Supporting families is not only fundamentally the right thing to do, it is critical to our national missions – affordable and accessible childcare supports female employment and enables secure, sustainable employment.”

Children’s Minister Natalie Don said:

“This International Women’s Day, I am proud we are delivering on a key pledge to ensure £12 per hour for those working in the private, voluntary and independent childcare sector to deliver funded ELC. We are already delivering the most generous funded childcare offer in the UK today but we recognise we need to do more to tackle poverty and support gender equality.

“High quality, accessible and affordable childcare is a critical part of the national infrastructure we need to drive greater equality in Scotland’s workforce and tackle the gender pay gap. The innovative work we are leading through our six early adopter communities will enable us to better understand what a future all-age childcare system could look like for Scotland, to support more families out of poverty.”

COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson Councillor Tony Buchanan said: 

“Scotland’s councils, working closely with their partners in the private, third and childminding sectors, are committed to supporting families through delivering 1140 hours of high quality funded early learning and childcare (ELC) across our communities.  Providing the youngest in our communities with positive opportunities for play, learning and development, funded ELC provision is enabling parents – including mothers, who we know can often face particular barriers – to access work, training or study.

“The guidance being published today to support delivery of the £12 per hour pay commitment during 2024-25 has been developed and agreed through positive partnership working between Scottish and Local Government. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership as we take forward the range of actions identified in the joint Sustainable Rates Review.”


Guidance for setting sustainable rates for the delivery of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) in 2024-25 - (

Early learning and childcare providers will receive a minimum uplift of 7.6% to the sustainable rates they are paid by local authorities in 2024-25 so that they can pay their staff delivering the funded hours at least £12 per hour from April, helping to provide greater clarity and financial certainty for both employers and staff.

As part of our wider gender equality work, the First Minister launched a framework to help prevent and respond to gender-based violence in schools on Monday 4 March.

Preventing and responding to gender based violence: a whole school framework - (

The Scottish Government will also bring forward a new Human Rights Bill later this parliamentary year, which will incorporate the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women into Scots Law, as far as possible within devolved competence, and we continue to implement the recommendations of the National Advisory Council on Women and Girls.


Media enquiries

Back to top