Childcare vouchers are available to parents who:
- Work for an employer
- Have a child/children up to 15 years old (16 years old if disabled)
- Attend an Ofsted-registered childcare setting
Childcare vouchers are usually available as part of a salary sacrifice. Talk to your employer to see if they take part in a voucher scheme and if you could benefit.
Employees can receive up to £55 per week in childcare vouchers. These are exempt from Tax and National Insurance contributions. This means both employees and employers make tax savings. Employees can approach their employers about joining a scheme.
In order to qualify for the scheme, you must be the parent or legal guardian of the child.
Salary sacrifice is a reduction in your normal pay in return for a childcare voucher.
If you are in receipt of tax credits we strongly advise you to find out how they will be affected before you participate in a childcare voucher scheme. You cannot claim both WTC childcare allowance and childcare vouchers. Visit the Better off calculator.
Tax-Free Childcare is a new scheme being introduced in early 2017 to help working parents save on the cost of childcare. Some parents (including self-employed parents who cannot take advantage of childcare vouchers) will be better off with the new scheme but you should check before signing up. The This is Money website is a helpful source of information. You cannot claim childcare vouchers and tax-free childcare together.
You can use childcare vouchers for children up to the age of 15 (until 1 September following their 15th birthday), or 16 if they are disabled (until 1 September following their 16th birthday). Childcare Vouchers can be used to pay for all types of Ofsted-registered childcare, including day nurseries, nannies, au pairs, crèches, childminders, out of school clubs, holiday schemes, activity clubs and qualifying childcare offered by schools.
Not all providers take childcare vouchers - check with your childcare provider.
If they don’t, it is very easy for them to join a scheme. There are several childcare vouchers schemes available, including the following:
The savings you can make using the scheme are based on your salary per parent, not the number of children. Each parent can request up to a maximum of £243 per month or £55 per week of childcare vouchers, depending on whether they are a basic, higher or additional rate tax payer. There is more information about childcare vouchers on the GOV.UK website.