Make an informed choice

Tax-Free Childcare or Childcare Vouchers?

Our Family Benefits Advice Service can help

0800 028 3008

Family Benefits Advice Service

Maximise income, know your rights

As a parent, do you know where to start in finding out what benefits and entitlements are available to you? This is where our Family Benefits Advice Service can help. The charity’s helpline provides free, impartial and confidential advice to parents, employers and others advising on childcare and the financial support available to parents.  Our advisors provide guidance on issues relating to childcare, employment entitlements and workplace legislation.

We can help, if you are a parent with dependent children, and you are: 

  • Unsure of which benefits you may be entitled to receive if you start or go back to work.
  • Unable to work due to childcare costs.
  • Thinking about changing your hours of work.
  • Trying to find the best childcare option for your family.
  • Struggling to manage work and family responsibilities.

Better Off Calculations

Our advisors carry out “better off” calculations to help parents: choose the best financial support available to them towards the cost of childcare; maximise their incomes; and identify other benefits they may be entitled to. These calculations can be based on a number of different scenarios to enable you to assess how your decision will impact on your household income. Please have the following information ready when you call:

  1. P60 income for previous tax year
  2. Estimated earnings and weekly working hours for this tax year
  3. Childcare costs
  4. Any disability or sickness benefits in payment
  5. Housing costs including rates
  6. Details of Maternity Leave and Pay
  7. Immigration status if applicable

Get in touch for more information or call 0800 028 3008 to speak to a Family Benefits Advisor.

What form of support is best for your family?

Working parents may be able to access financial help with their registered childcare costs either through the Childcare Voucher scheme, Tax-Free Childcare, the childcare element of Working Tax Credit, or Universal Credit.  The support that is best for you will depend on factors such as your household income, the number of children in the family, childcare costs, and whether a child or family member has a disability.

It is important that working parents make an informed choice when choosing which form of financial support towards the cost of registered childcare best suits their family’s needs. Our Family Benefits Advice Service offers one-to-one advice that can help you make that informed choice.

Try our calculator to find out if you will save more on your childcare costs using Childcare Vouchers and / or Tax Credits, or Tax-free Childcare or, for more information on how Tax-Free Childcare and Childcare Vouchers compare, see our Big Changes, Big Choices guide.

The future of Childcare Vouchers

The Childcare Voucher scheme was due to close to new entrants in April, however, following the Chancellor’s Spring Statement in March 2018 the Government announced a six month extension until 4 October 2018.

This extension will allow new parents who will be better off using Childcare Vouchers to sign up to the scheme and give employers time to communicate developments with their staff. As an independent, campaigning charity set up to support working parents, Employers For Childcare will use this extension to work constructively with MPs to secure the long-term provision of Childcare Vouchers, alongside Tax-Free Childcare, as part of a comprehensive and flexible package of childcare support for working families.


Employers For Childcare is a member of Helplines Network NI.  For information on other helplines and support services available visit Helplines Network NI.

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