7 Tips on Childcare Vouchers

1. Dads can start claiming as soon as the baby is born
For the first child, a mother cannot begin claiming vouchers until she returns from maternity leave. However, fathers can begin to claim Childcare Vouchers as soon as the child is born. This can be really useful, as it means a family can start saving up vouchers whilst the mother is on maternity leave, to use to pay for childcare when both parents are working.

2. They can be used for children up to age 15
Many people are under the impression that the vouchers are for childcare for babies or toddlers only, but this is not the case. You can use Childcare Vouchers to pay for childcare for children up to age 15, or 16 if registered disabled. So you could be saving money on the costs of childminders, breakfast and afterschool clubs for older children.

3. You don’t have to be currently paying for childcare to claim the vouchers
As long as you have a child/children under 15, have parental responsibility for that child/children, and as long as your employer offers the scheme, you can start saving your Childcare Vouchers. You can choose to save them in your account to use to pay for childcare at a later date if you wish.

4. The Childcare Voucher scheme saves the employer money too
Although there is normally a small administration charge to operate the scheme, this fee is always less than the saving that the employer makes on their employers National Insurance Contributions when their employees sacrifice their salary for Childcare Vouchers. Therefore the employer saves money too!

5. The Vouchers do not have an expiry date
Unused vouchers can be ‘banked’ in your account to use in the future.

6. Childcare Vouchers must be used for registered childcare
They can only be used to pay for childcare which is registered though the relevant local authority i.e. Ofsted in England, Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales, Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) or a Health and Social Services Trust in Northern Ireland. Therefore they cannot be used to pay for informal childcare e.g. where a friend or family member is looking after children.

7. They can be used to pay for more than one type of childcare
You can use them to make payments to multiple childcare providers. This includes any type of registered childcare, like day nurseries, childminders, breakfast and afterschool clubs.