The Government has closed the Childcare Voucher scheme to new entrants from 4 October 2018, despite clear evidence that thousands of families will be left worse off as a result. Over the last year, Employers For Childcare has campaigned to keep the Scheme open to new entrants, providing robust evidence to HM Treasury and MPs of how working parents – and employers – will be disadvantaged if it closes. The Government has so far disregarded the widespread public support calling for the scheme to be kept open.
With the economic inactivity rate at record levels we want to ensure the voices of parents and employers continue to be heard by Government, and have therefore made a detailed submission to HM Treasury ahead of the Budget later this month. We have set out how closing Childcare Vouchers to new entrants will prevent Government from achieving its objectives in relation to childcare – to help parents access and progress in work – by ignoring the complex and changing needs of different families. The submission demonstrates how keeping Childcare Vouchers open is affordable and achievable within the Government’s overall childcare budget. You can read the full submission on our website.
Voice your Voucher story!
As our helpline is being inundated with distressed and anxious callers, we are collating stories from parents, employers and childcare providers who are being negatively impacted. The #SaveChildcareVouchers campaign has put childcare to the forefront of government policy and that’s where it needs to stay. If you are an employer who has missed out setting up a Childcare Voucher scheme, or a parent who has been unable to join Childcare Vouchers, let us know.
Email your voucher story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will use it to bring additional pressure at Westminster, as we ask MPs to review the decision before the Budget is announced on 29 October.
What does the closure mean for you in practice?
Remember, this closure means you cannot accept any new employees into your workplace Childcare Voucher scheme. This applies even to new staff who were registered to receive Childcare Vouchers at a previous employer. You can, however, continue to offer the scheme to existing employees who are registered, and who have made at least one salary sacrifice in the last 52 weeks.
Amidst these changes it is important that you update your company handbooks or induction procedures for staff to take account of this change. Our staff team are on hand to provide guidance and support where needed.