Save Childcare Vouchers!

Get behind the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign – act now!

The Childcare Voucher scheme is due to close to new entrants on 4 October 2018 following a six month extension announced in March.  This postponement shows the difference people power can make – it was the combined voice of parents, employers and childcare providers contacting their MPs that helped secure the extension.

The Government still plans to close the scheme to new entrants in October.  This means expectant parents, working families not registered before then, and current users who switch jobs after October, stand to lose out on vital savings – up to £933 per parent each year. So now we must all step up and make our voices heard again.

On behalf of working parents, childcare providers and employers, we are calling on the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open to new entrants, alongside Tax-Free Childcare, as part of a comprehensive and flexible package of childcare support for working families.

We are delighted several of our local MPs have endorsed the campaign to date, and have been working hard alongside us. We are grateful to them for their support, and are asking parents, childcare providers and employers to give them, and other MPs, the evidence they need in calling for a halt to the closure of Childcare Vouchers.

Lady Sylvia Hermon, MP (North Down) commented: “I am working closely with the charity Employers For Childcare to support the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign, which urges the Government to keep the Childcare Voucher scheme open to new entrants. This particular scheme is an important form of financial support for working parents both in my own constituency and right across the UK, one which is also valued by employers and childcare providers.

Statistics show that thousands of working parents across Northern Ireland rely on the Childcare Voucher scheme for the financial support it offers in order to make childcare affordable. Stopping new parents, or those who move jobs after October, from accessing this support concerns me greatly, because it could mean parents leaving, or being unable to access, the workforce. That is certainly not an outcome I want to see. 

Clearly, we must persuade the Government to change its policy of closing the Childcare Vouchers Scheme to new entrants, and so I am definitely supporting this new campaign.” 

How can you support the campaign?

Find out how to lobby your MP below, or share our campaign materials through social media #SaveChildcareVouchers

  • Parents

    Lobby your MP!

    Contact your MP and ask them to put pressure on the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open permanently. We are delighted several MPs have endorsed the campaign to date, and we are grateful to them for their support.  Now we are asking parents, childcare providers and employers to give them, and other MPs, the evidence they need in calling for a halt to the closure of Childcare Vouchers.

    It’s free, easy to do, and takes less than five minutes – just follow these steps:

    1. Click on theyworkforyou.com and enter your post code to find your local MP.
    2. Click on your MP’s name
    3. Click on the green ‘Send a message’ button near the top left of the page.
    4. Ask them to sign the new Early Day Motion calling on the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open
    5. Briefly inform your MP as to why Childcare Vouchers must be kept open to new entrants, and ask them to urge the Government to do so. Make your email personal to you and your family, telling them how you have benefited, or hope to in future, for example:
    • How have Childcare Vouchers helped your family financially or to get into, or stay in work?
    • Have you found the scheme easy to use?
    • If you are expecting your first child, are you worried you’ll be unable to access Childcare Vouchers?
    • Are you thinking of changing jobs, but worried if you do so you could lose access to Childcare Vouchers?
    • Are you able to use Childcare Vouchers to help you with wraparound childcare costs for school aged children eg breakfast or afterschool clubs or summer schemes (Tax-Free Childcare is only available for children up to age 11)?
    • Is only one parent in your household working (to be eligible for Tax-Free Childcare, both parents must be in employment, and meet certain income criteria)?
    • Are you subject to immigration control and unable to access other support with your childcare costs?
    • Do Childcare Vouchers offer you more support than other schemes?

     

    The deadline to join the scheme is fast approaching so we encourage all new parents and families who could benefit and are not registered for Childcare Vouchers to do so now, rather than miss out.  Please share this information with family, friends and new or expectant parents, so that they can also write to their MP.

    Use social media

    You can also use social media to call on your MP to keep Childcare Vouchers open to new entrants. Here is a sample Tweet that you could use and personalise:

    Please [insert MP’s twitter handle] stand with working parents and urge @hmtreasury to halt the closure of Childcare Vouchers to new entrants, keep this vital support open alongside Tax-Free Childcare #SaveChildcareVouchers

    Thank you. We continue to lobby on your behalf but it is your voice that is the most powerful!

    Call our Family Benefits Advice Service

    Alongside the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign we are urging parents to make sure they know what support they are entitled to by calling our Family Benefits Advice Service on Freephone 0800 028 3008 or email hello@employersforchildcare.org. Working parents who received a personal benefits check from us last year gained an average of £4,130.

  • Employers

    Why should employers get behind the campaign to #SaveChildcareVouchers?

    As well as providing direct savings for parents, Childcare Vouchers save employers millions of pounds on National Insurance Contributions, facilitate positive discussions between employers and staff about childcare, and promote flexible working practices.

    How you can help #SaveChildcareVouchers

    1. Sign the business pledge to #SaveChildcareVouchers. To add your organisation’s name to the campaign to keep Childcare Vouchers open, email cvpa@wacomms.co.uk with the name of your business and the number of your employees to find out more.

     

    1. Contact your local MP. The delayed closure of the scheme in March shows the difference you can make. Contact your MP on behalf of your business and ask them to put pressure on the government to keep Childcare Vouchers – it’s free, easy to do, and takes less than five minutes. Just visit theyworkforyou.com, enter your postcode to find out who represents you, and click on the green “Send a message” button to contact them.Ask them to sign the new Early Day Motion calling on the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open

      Then, personalise the email to your business, for example:

      • What proportion of your workforce are parents?
      • How many of your staff use Childcare Vouchers?
      • How long has your business offered the scheme?
      • Have you found that the scheme has helped facilitate positive employer-employee discussions about childcare? Can you give any particular examples?
      • Do you feel that offering Childcare Vouchers has helped with recruitment?
      • Are Childcare Vouchers a popular employee benefit in your business?
      • Do you have employees on short term contracts who are likely to be impacted if the scheme closes to new entrants? Community and voluntary sector employers have told us this is a particular concern as many staff are on fixed or short term contracts and, should their contract come to an end after 4 October, they would be unable to remain in the scheme with a new employer.
      • Have you any expectant parents in your workforce, who will be excluded from using Childcare Vouchers as a result of the closure?
      • Have your employees expressed concerns about the potential closure of the scheme?
      • Anything else that you feel might be relevant in the argument to persuade government to keep Childcare Vouchers open.

     

    1. Share details of the campaign with your staff and other networks. Encourage your staff and colleagues to write to their MP. Contact us if you would like any support with this.

     

    1. Share the campaign on social media. Use social media to demonstrate your support for the #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign. Here is a sample Tweet you could use and personalise:

     

    Please [insert MP’s twitter handle] stand with businesses across the UK and urge @hmtreasury to halt the closure of Childcare Vouchers to new entrants and keep this vital support open alongside Tax-Free Childcare #SaveChildcareVouchers

    In the meantime… ensure staff know about the potential closure of Childcare Vouchers

    Here are some steps to help ensure that no employee misses out on the opportunity to join the scheme.

    1. Tell all of your staff about these changes and communicate details of your Childcare Vouchers scheme with them (contact us if you would like support or download a poster and info to share with staff from the top right of this page)
    2. Advise all of your staff they can call our Family Benefits Advice Service for free, confidential and impartial advice on 0800 028 3008 to ensure they are better off
    3. Ensure all staff who want to use Childcare Vouchers have salary sacrificed in their pay cheque before October 2018
    4. Ensure staff who have opted out of Childcare Vouchers temporarily have made at least one salary sacrifice in the last 52 weeks in order to remain in the scheme

     

    Employers can also call our Family Benefits Advice Service for confidential and impartial advice – whether this is as an employer, staff member working in a HR or payroll department, or as a working parent yourself. Get in touch for more information or call 028 9267 8200.

  • Childcare Providers

    Lobby your MP!

    Contact your MP and ask them to put pressure on the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open permanently. We are delighted several MPs have endorsed the campaign to date, and we are grateful to them for their support.  Now we are asking parents, childcare providers and employers to give them, and other MPs, the evidence they need in calling for a halt to the closure of Childcare Vouchers.

    It’s free, easy to do, and takes less than five minutes – just follow these steps:

    1. Click on theyworkforyou.com and enter your post code to find your local MP.
    2. Click on your MP’s name.
    3. Click on the green ‘Send a message’ button near the top left of the page.
    4. Ask them to sign the new Early Day Motion calling on the Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open
    5. Tell your MP why the Childcare Voucher scheme must be kept open to new entrants, and ask them to urge the Government to do so. Make your email personal to you, for example, tell them:
    • Childcare Vouchers enable the parents who use your service to stay in work
    • Childcare Vouchers help parents, and therefore childcare providers, financially
    • You find the scheme easy to use, and it is easy to accept payments
    • Childcare Vouchers must be paid directly to a registered childcare provider
    • Anything else that you feel might be relevant in the argument to persuade Government to keep Childcare Vouchers open.

    The deadline to join the scheme is fast approaching so we encourage all new parents and families who could benefit and are not registered for Childcare Vouchers to do so now, rather than miss out.  Please share this information with family, friends, other childcare providers, and new or expectant parents, so that they can also write to their MP.

     

    Use social media

    You can also use social media to call on your MP to keep Childcare Vouchers open to new entrants. Here is a sample Tweet that you could use and personalise:

    Please [insert MP’s twitter handle] stand with working parents and childcare providers and urge @hmtreasury to halt the closure of Childcare Vouchers to new entrants, keep this vital support open alongside Tax-Free Childcare #SaveChildcareVouchers

    Thank you. We continue to lobby on your behalf but it is your voice that is the most powerful!

    Signpost parents to the Family Benefits Advice Service

    Inform parents about the six-month extension and communicate details of the Childcare Voucher scheme with them. To help you we have provided a printable poster and some information which you can circulate in an email or post in your newsletters (if you have one) to help with this – download these on the top right of this page.

    Remember, you can advise parents to call our Family Benefits Advice Service on Freephone 0800 028 3008 for advice on the financial support to which they might be entitled. Working parents who received a personal benefits check from us last year gained an average of £4,130.

Randox Group Endorsement

We were delighted to receive an endorsement from Randox Group for this campaign. Randox, an international company with more than 1,400 employees, is calling for the Childcare Voucher Scheme to remain open because:

  • It offers flexibility, savings & convenience for Parents
  • It also offers savings for the Employer
  • It helps to retain staff who are parents of young children
  • It benefits both Employee & Employers

All of which helps to maintain a valuable, positive working relationship. We would like to thank Randox Group, and all of the parents, childcare providers and employers, who have lent their support to this campaign so far.

 

Further information on the UK wide campaign is available at futureofchildcaresupport.com