Stay eligible for Childcare Vouchers – don’t miss out by leaving it too late to re-join the scheme
We know that, earlier this year, many parents reduced the amount they pay into their Childcare Voucher account or temporarily paused making payments altogether, due to Covid-19. If this applies to you, remember to review your account and restart or increase payments (limits apply) if necessary to ensure you are making the most of the savings available and remain eligible for the scheme. You do not have to be currently paying for childcare in order to make payments into your Childcare Voucher account – these can be banked and used to meet future childcare costs.
Things to be aware of:
- To retain the option of continuing to pay into your Childcare Voucher account you must make at least one payment from your salary, into your account each 52 weeks – even as little as £1. The money must come out of your salary before the 52 weeks have elapsed. (It is not enough to have simply requested to make a payment through your employer).
- Make sure you don’t leave it too late! The 52 weeks applies from the date of your last salary sacrifice. We have recently seen examples of parents who lost their eligibility for Childcare Vouchers because they left it too late to restart their salary sacrifice from their pay. For parents who are paid monthly, this can often mean you need to make a payment into your Childcare Voucher account in the month before the 52 weeks elapses. It is also important to note that some employers process their payroll over a month before their employee’s payday so it is important to give them sufficient indication that you want to start sacrificing into your Childcare Voucher account again. Contact our team and your payroll department as early as possible to discuss your timeline.
Example: Robin’s last salary sacrifice was made from his pay on 27 February 2020. He must make another salary sacrifice from his pay by 26 February 2021 in order to remain eligible, however Robin’s salary in February is not due to be paid until 28 February 2021. This goes beyond the 52 week limit and therefore Robin must make a salary sacrifice from his January pay in order to remain eligible. The payroll deadline for changes to his January pay is 5 January 2021, therefore a request to salary sacrifice must be submitted by that date.
- Our Childcare Vouchers have no expiry date so can be banked and used in the future if you have no current requirement for childcare. They can be used to pay for all forms of registered childcare including many after school and breakfast clubs.
- If you are on furlough you may not be able to make a salary sacrifice payment into your Childcare Voucher account, unless your salary is topped up by your employer or you are on ‘flexible’ furlough and receive your full pay for hours worked.
- If you leave Childcare Vouchers to join Tax-Free Childcare, you will not be able to return to the scheme, even if it is the better form of support for you in the future.
- If you change employer, you will no longer be able to pay into Childcare Vouchers however you can use up any balance remaining in your account.
If you have any questions regarding your Childcare Voucher account, please call our Customer Service team on 028 9267 8200.