27/03/2018

Govt Announces Childcare Voucher Scheme Extension

An extension of the Childcare Voucher scheme of six months has been announced by the government, Employers For Childcare has reported.

The extension means that there is a new opportunity for employers to sign up to offer Childcare Vouchers to their employees.

Employers who are not already offering Childcare Vouchers are being encouraged to learn more about the scheme as soon as possible – as once the scheme closes to new entrants, only employers who already offer the scheme will be able to continue doing so.

Those who would like more information can call Employers For Childcare for free on 0800 028 3008 or email hello@employersforchildcare.org.

Employers currently offering Childcare Vouchers are also being asked if they have made their staff aware of the changes?

As an employer, the more staff you have who are benefiting from Childcare Vouchers, the greater the saving to you through reduced Employer’s National Insurance Contributions. If the Childcare Voucher scheme closes to new entrants however, you will not be able to accept new employees on to your scheme. It is important that you inform staff of this six-month window now, so that there is time for those wishing to avail of Childcare Vouchers to join the scheme and make a salary sacrifice before it closes – potentially in October 2018.

Employers For Childcare checklist includes:

• Inform staff about these six-month extension and communicate details of your Childcare Voucher scheme with them
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• Advise 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

• Ensure staff who want to use Childcare Vouchers have salary sacrificed in their pay cheque before October 2018

• 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 – and make at least one sacrifice in each 52 week period to remain eligible

• Update contracts of employment, staff handbooks or terms and conditions where necessary

Our 30-minute webinar recording explains the potential closure of Childcare Vouchers and implications for employers, including if you have employees on maternity / paternity / shared parental leave and are not due back until after its closure, or who have temporarily opted out of the scheme.

Please note that this webinar took place in January 2018, before the six-month extension was granted (the original closure date was to be April 2018). The advice given in the webinar, however, remains the same, simply with an extension of six months to join the scheme.

Employers can also call our Family Benefits Advice Service for free, 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.

Further information about the scheme is available here.

(MH)

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