Childcare Voucher Scheme FAQ's

Saving money

How much money will I save?

    The money is saved through Tax and National Insurance savings since vouchers are exempt from Tax and National insurance for the first £55 per week (£243 per month). Employees will save up to 31% of the voucher value if their salary (after tax-free pay) is below the Tax threshold (£37,400 p.a 2010/11 figure) and up to 41% of the voucher value if your salary is above this figure.

Is there a minimum and maximum amount of salary that can be reduced?

    The maximum Tax and National Insurance free voucher value is £55 per week (£243 per month). The University has decided to cap the voucher value in line with the legislation and therefore the maximum you can receive is £243 per month.

  • The salary reduction must not cause your gross salary to fall below the National Minimum Wage.

Will I be paid less?

    Yes, you will be paid less because your salary will be reduced by the voucher amount which we are paying on your behalf towards the cost of your childcare.

Eligibility for claiming

Can both parents claim if we both work for the University?

Yes. The legislation states that the £55 per week exemption is per employee. Therefore both employees can claim this amount.

My partner already claims our costs under his/her employer's scheme. Can I claim as well?

Yes. Both parents are eligible to claim the £55 per week.

I am a single parent and do not pay all of the childcare costs: Can I claim?

You can claim vouchers for payment towards childcare costs for which you are responsible.

I am a student parent (or, my contract is with a college only): Can I claim?

If the University does not pay you a salary then you cannot be part of this scheme, because it is based on the Tax and National Insurance you pay on your salary from us.

Can I belong to the nursery salary sacrifice scheme and also to this scheme?

Yes. You can have children in a workplace nursery for whom you claim under the Salary Sacrifice Scheme. You may have other childcare costs for the same or another child, which are not paid to a workplace nursery, which you can claim under this scheme. You cannot claim the same costs under both schemes.

Do the costs have to relate to my own children?

The tax rules state that you must have legal parental responsibility for the child, which means normally being their legal guardian. You cannot claim for grandchildren, godchildren, nieces, etc. This rule may also affect you if you are a single parent and your children do not live with you.

My childcare costs change over the year; how can I use this scheme?

The tax rules require your deduction to be a regular £55 per week (£243 per month). This may be too much during school term and not enough during holidays. Computershare will ‘bank’ your surplus deductions for you and pay the extra when you owe it to your childcare provider, so that you can still use the scheme and make the maximum use of your tax entitlement. If you would like us to do this, please say on the application form that you want a flexible payment option, and Computershare will agree the details with you directly. If you leave the scheme with money owed back to you, it has to be refunded via your payslip and you will have to pay tax and national insurance on it then, because it was not spent on childcare.

Can the vouchers be used for more than one child and in more than one setting?

You can use the vouchers for as many children as you like in any childcare setting (subject to agreement with provider) including nurseries, childminders, out of school clubs and holiday playschemes for children up to 16 years of age.

The childcarer must be registered or approved.

Does my child carer have to be registered?

Yes, we can only claim for registered childcare. By law Nurseries, Childminders, Out of School clubs and Holiday Play schemes have to be registered by Ofsted. Once they have had an inspection they will be issued with a certificate and registration number. Nannies can apply for approval through the Childcare Approval Scheme. For more information visit Computershare will do registration checks on all registered and approved childcare provision via the Ofsted website and approval scheme phone number.

Tax and National Insurance

Who is responsible for paying the tax and national insurance of my carer?

If your carer is a self-employed person, a partnership or a limited company, then you are not responsible for paying their tax and national insurance.

If you use Childcare Vouchers to make payments to nannies or childminders who are employed by you, then it is your responsibility to account correctly to the Inland Revenue for PAYE and National Insurance, just as if you paid them in any other way. Childcare Vouchers does not change this. The Childcare Vouchers amount should be the amount the carer actually receives. Oxford University and Computershare do not do this for you and we accept no responsibility if you break the law. The application forms include a clause (an "indemnity") in which you agree to this. If you are unsure whether you should be deducting tax and NI, you should consult a qualified tax professional.

Pension and mortgage

How will it affect pension schemes?

Your pension scheme contributions, and therefore your pension scheme benefits, will be based on your full salary before any reduction for childcare vouchers.  You may wish to contact the University's Pensions Office for further information, particularly if you are over 50 or if you wish to consider paying Additional Voluntary Contributions. You may also wish to seek independent financial advice.

What happens if a mortgage reference is required?

The University will provide a reference which sets out your salary with no deduction for childcare vouchers.

Changes in circumstances

What happens if the childcare arrangements change?

Notification of any changes to the account must be made to the Computershare voucher team.

What notice period is required?

A twelve month commitment to the scheme is required by the Inland Revenue, unless there is a material change in personal circumstances, in which case a two months notice to change or cancel the agreement is required.

What happens to my voucher payments when I go on unpaid occupational maternity leave?

While you are on Statutory Maternity pay only, this means unpaid leave, the University will continue to pay the voucher deductions on your behalf until you return to work. This is because childcare vouchers are deemed as a non-cash benefit which must continue during this period.

Setting up payment

How will the childcarer be paid?

You can choose to pay your carer with e-Vouchers through an online account or with paper vouchers which are posted to your home address. If you have an online account, you can also set up an automatic monthly payment autopay) to your carer. You can save your vouchers to use when you need them most but it’s good practice to always use the oldest one first. If you use paper vouchers your carer will have to contact CVS either online or by phone to redeem them.

If you do not have internet access but have regular childcare arrangements and you want to pay your carer with e-Vouchers, CVS can arrange for an automatic payment to be made to your carer on your behalf (this service is called redeem direct and is similar to a standing order). Please call the CVS Customer Service team on 0845 002 1111 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday to arrange this.

How to use your online account

› You have full control of your carer payments
› You can choose to receive e-Vouchers or paper vouchers
› You can keep CVS informed of any changes to your personal details
› You can view full details of all your transactions
› You can set up regular automatic payments to your carer (this service is called autopay) or make one-off payments as and when you need to
> You will find your online account

How long will it take to set up the scheme?

The online registration process should only take a few minutes.  Computershare aims to provide a confirmatory email within 72 hours.