Childcare Vouchers & Tax-Free Childcare FAQs


Please find below a list of the top frequently asked questions around Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare. 


Click on a link below to navigate to the relevant question:

 

What is the cut-off date for joining the Childcare Vouchers scheme?

The Childcare Vouchers scheme is due to close to new entrants on 4th October 2018. Previously, this was due to be 6th April 2018. However, the government announced during parliament on 13th March that it would be extended for a further six months.

If you are joining the scheme for the first time, you need to sign up now in order to be in receipt of your first vouchers on or before 3rd October 2018. The exact cut-off date for signing up to the scheme is different from company to company so you will need to speak to your employer/HR team to find out when this is in your organisation.

 

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How do I join the Childcare Vouchers scheme?

You complete an agreement with your employer requesting Childcare Vouchers to the value you require. This may be a paper or online agreement, or through a ‘flexible benefits’ portal. Please speak to your HR team to find out how to join in your organisation.

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I already receive Childcare Vouchers; do I need to do anything?

If, when the scheme closes to new entrants on 4th October 2018, you have received Childcare Vouchers within the last 12 months, you do not need to do anything. You can continue to receive the vouchers for as long as:

  • You have not previously made a successful application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • You remain with the same employer
  • Your child is still eligible
  • You receive at least one voucher payment into your parent account within a 12 month period

If, when the scheme closes to new entrants on 4th October 2018, you have not received Childcare Vouchers within the last 12 months, you will need to agree with your employer to be in receipt of new vouchers on or before 3rd October 2018 to remain eligible to stay on the scheme.

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Which is the best scheme - Childcare Vouchers or Tax-Free Childcare?

This depends on your family’s individual circumstances. Download our ‘Parent’s Guide to Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare’ for further guidance, or visit the government website www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. Please note that information and figures provided are for general guidance only and we are unable to provide advice on individual circumstances.

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Can I continue to accrue Childcare Vouchers?

Your family cannot benefit from Childcare Vouchers and Tax-Free Childcare at the same time, but you can remain on the Childcare Vouchers scheme as long as:

  • You have not previously made a successful application for Tax-Free Childcare
  • You remain with the same employer
  • Your child is still eligible
  • You receive at least one voucher payment into your parent account within a 12 month period

Edenred Childcare Vouchers do not expire and if you decide to switch to Tax-Free Childcare at a later date, you can still use up any vouchers accrued in your account. However, your employer may have additional conditions on usage if you leave their employment, please check with your HR team.

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Can I stay on the Childcare Vouchers scheme if my partner is claiming Tax-Free Childcare?

No. You will not be eligible to stay on the Childcare Vouchers scheme if your partner is on the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.

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Will I lose any Childcare Vouchers I’ve already accrued in my account?

Edenred Childcare Vouchers do not expire and if you decide to switch to Tax-Free Childcare at a later date, you can still use up any vouchers accrued in your account. However, your employer may have additional conditions on usage if you leave their employment, please check with your HR team.

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Can I change the value of Childcare Vouchers at a later date if my needs change?

As long as you remain eligible for the Childcare Vouchers scheme, you can change how much you want to receive in accordance with your employer’s scheme rules. Please note that you will need to receive at least one voucher payment within any 12 month period to remain eligible for the scheme in the long term.

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I’m expecting a baby, can I claim the vouchers now as I don’t want to miss out?

If you are expecting your first child, unfortunately you only become eligible to join Childcare Vouchers once they are born. You can however still claim vouchers if you have other eligible children (eligibility ends on 1st September after the child’s 15th birthday, or 1st September after their 16th birthday if they are registered disabled).

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What happens if I change employer?

When you join the Childcare Vouchers scheme, you are entering into an agreement with your current employer. When you move to a new employer, you are technically ‘leaving’ the scheme. As the Childcare Vouchers scheme is closing to new entrants on 4th October 2018 you will not be able to ‘rejoin’ your new employer’s scheme after this date. Please check with your new employer when the cut-off date for joining is in their organisation.

However, if you are transferring to a new employer via TUPE, your rights are protected and you will still be eligible to remain on the Childcare Vouchers scheme.

 

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I am on statutory maternity pay until after the cut-off date, can I join Childcare Vouchers?

Childcare Vouchers work by exchanging a portion of your gross salary for vouchers. You cannot bring your salary below National Minimum Wage as a result of this exchange. If you are on parenting leave and can make a salary exchange under the scheme without bringing your salary below National Minimum Wage before the scheme closes to new entrants on 4th October 2018, then you will be eligible for Childcare Vouchers. For example, if you are being paid for a ‘Keeping In Touch’ day.

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Can I use Childcare Vouchers in conjunction with the ’30 free hours for 3-4 year olds’ scheme?

You are still able to receive Childcare Vouchers in conjunction with 30 free hours, despite what the government website is currently advising. This is an error on their behalf. For clarification and to be able to proceed with your application, call HMRC on 0300 123 4097. Alternatively, if the error message appears, confirm you are not receiving Childcare Vouchers to proceed, then return to your account later to correct that you are receiving them.

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