Childcare Vouchers: UK Government Extends Joining Deadline

As we have previously covered in our articles, the costs of Childcare in the UK are amongst the highest in the world. Such high charges result in many working parents having to reduce the number of hours they work, or in extreme cases even forces some such individuals to leave the workforce altogether. Such a situation is clearly bad news for the employee and their family, the employer, and even the UK Treasury.

The Government therefore regularly look at how they can support working parents better, and their long-held ambition to provide financial assistance has been centred on replacing the existing Childcare Vouchers (CCV) scheme with that of a new initiative known as Tax Free Childcare (TFC). The two systems differ quite significantly, and it is a fact that many working families will be better supported via the existing CCV offering. It is also the case that Tax Free Childcare (which began last year) has suffered a succession of negative headlines over administrative problems. So pressure has been growing for the Government to delay the 5th April deadline for new joiners to Childcare Voucher schemes.

And in an unexpected twist to the story that is exactly what's happened. As has been reported on the BBC News website, new joiners to Childcare Voucher schemes can now continue to join until 5th October this year.

It is also worth remembering that once a member of the CCV scheme, employees can retain that right into the future as long as they don’t change employer.

So there is yet another chance for employers to continue to promote their existing Childcare Voucher schemes to their parent employees. For details of other elements of State support in this area please visit the Government’s Childcare Choices website.

It remains to be seen if this new deadline for CCV membership is extended further, and we will keep you posted on this important issue if/as it develops.

Steve Herbert is Head of Benefits Strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits