Childcare Voucher FAQs

Childcare Vouchers closed to new entrants in October 2018 but remains open for anyone already benefiting from the scheme

Here are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about Childcare Vouchers, which are now closed to new entrants.  If you’re a current user, you can continue to use Childcare Vouchers as long as you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You have a child below the age of 16 (below the age of 17 if your child has a disability)
  • You do not change employer
  • You make at least one salary sacrifice – ie you pay some money into your Childcare Voucher account – in each 52 week period
  • You do not leave Childcare Vouchers to join the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

Please note:  Childcare Vouchers can only be used to pay for registered childcare costs.

If you have any questions regarding Childcare Vouchers, or the closure of the scheme to new entrants, that are not answered here, please contact us directly on 0800 028 3008 and we will be pleased to offer free, impartial and confidential advice.

  • I am already using Childcare Vouchers, can I continue to use them?

    You can continue to receive Childcare Vouchers as long as you remain eligible (see above). If you leave the scheme, or are no longer eligible, you can use up any outstanding balance of Childcare Vouchers in your account to pay for registered childcare.

  • If I move to a new employer can I remain in the scheme?

    If you move to a new employer you will be treated as a new entrant to the scheme, therefore you will no longer be entitled to Childcare Vouchers through your new employer, however you will still be able to use any Childcare Vouchers that are in your account.

    You will still be able to access your Childcare Voucher account after you change jobs and will be able to continue to pay your childcare provider whilst there are funds remaining in your account.

  • How much can I pay into my Childcare Voucher account per year?

    The amount you can salary sacrifice – ie pay into – your Childcare Voucher account depends on your income tax rate:

    • A Basic rate tax payer can salary sacrifice up to £55 per week – £243 per month – £2,915 per year
    • A Higher rate tax payer can salary sacrifice up to £28 per week – £1,484 per year.
    • An Additional rate tax payer can salary sacrifice up to £25 per week – £1,325 per year.

     

    Backdating:  If an employee has been salary sacrificing less than their full allowance per month eg £150 instead of £243 (subject to certain rules) an employer can allow an employee to retrospectively claim their full entitlement to Childcare Vouchers. This in known as ‘backdating’. Please note:  This is subject to an employer’s discretion, and can only be used to avail of Childcare Vouchers within the current tax year.

  • Can I change the amount I salary sacrifice per month, if I need to?

    Yes, as long as you remain eligible and if your employer permits it, you can change the amount you salary sacrifice as required. If you temporarily pause your monthly payment to £0, it is important to note that you must make at least one payment, even if it is a small amount (for example £1) every 52 weeks to remain eligible for the scheme in the future. Different employers apply different rules around the operation of the scheme, so check with your employer to see if the

  • Can I continue to get Childcare Vouchers while I am on maternity leave/pay?

    Your employer is not allowed to deduct Childcare Vouchers from your Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). However, if you can make a salary sacrifice from your salary over and above Statutory Maternity Pay, for example, company maternity pay, Keeping In Touch (KIT) day or holiday pay, you can continue to receive Childcare Vouchers 

    If you have no earnings over and above SMP your Childcare Vouchers will stop, however you will still be considered to be a member of the Scheme provided you have made at least one payment into your account in any consecutive 52 week period.

  • I am expecting another baby - will I be able to continue to use Childcare Vouchers?

    Yes, as long as you remain eligible (see above). However, the maximum amount you can pay into Childcare Vouchers from your salary remains £243 per parent, per month, no matter how many children you have.

  • If I stop claiming Childcare Vouchers for a period of time - can I claim them in the future?

    If you need to take a break from using Childcare Vouchers for example, for a career break or maternity/paternity leave, you will still remain a registered user of Childcare Vouchers as long as you:

    1. Do not let your account remain inactive for more than 52 consecutive weeks – this means you must salary sacrifice at least once, even if it is a small amount eg £1, every 52 weeks to keep your account ‘active’.
    2. Do not join Tax-Free Childcare, as you can’t go back into the Childcare Voucher scheme.
    3. Do not change employer.

  • My employer is being bought over, can I continue to get Childcare Vouchers?

    Yes, where there is a business takeover or merger employees are protected under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) – TUPE - or COSOP regulations. These employees will not be treated as new joiners to the scheme. If the new employer does not offer the Childcare Voucher scheme they can start to do so however it will only be open to those eligible employees who were in the scheme prior to 4 October 2018 and are protected under TUPE or COSOP regulations.

  • I opened a Tax-Free Childcare account, can I now re-join the Childcare Voucher scheme?

    If you have previously been in the Childcare Voucher scheme, and left this to open, and have paid into, a Tax-Free Childcare Account you can’t re-join your employer’s Childcare Voucher scheme.

  • Do Childcare Vouchers have an expiry date?

    Childcare Vouchers provided by Employers For Childcare do not have an expiry date and can be used to pay for all forms of registered childcare. If your Childcare Voucher scheme is with another provider, it is worth checking directly with them if their Vouchers have a date by which they must be used.

  • I have a balance of Childcare Vouchers in my account that I no longer require, how do I with

    Remember, Childcare Vouchers can be used for all forms of registered childcare, including out of school clubs and many summer schemes for older children. It could be useful to retain your Childcare Vouchers in case you wish to use them in future. If you do need to request a reimbursement, this should be requested through your employer. You will not receive the full balance of Childcare Vouchers in your account refunded to you as you will have to pay back, through your employer’s payroll, the tax and National Insurance savings you gained when you made the salary sacrifice to claim the Childcare Vouchers. Speak to your employer for further details. If you are no longer employed or your employer does not offer reimbursement, then contact Employers For Childcare to discuss your options.