Employers not making their staff aware of changes to the childcare voucher scheme

More than a third of employers are unaware of upcoming changes to the childcare voucher scheme, despite significant reforms coming into force in just six months.

A recent survey also revealed that, 90% ran a childcare voucher scheme, just one in three had done something to make staff aware of the changes. From April 2018, childcare voucher schemes will be closing to new applicants. Employees who have already signed up to a company’s scheme will be eligible to keep receiving vouchers, but they will not be able to rejoin the programme if they leave and will not be able to join their new employer’s scheme if they change jobs.

Although the vouchers are essentially being replaced by tax-free childcare, the two schemes do not operate in exactly the same way. This is a major change and should be communicated like any other change.

The survey suggested that employees might be unaware of the reforms. A quarter of those surveyed said they thought none of their staff were aware the schemes would close to new applicants, and three-quarters said nobody had approached them with questions about the changes.

An HMRC spokesperson said that, since the government had launched its Childcare Choices website in March, with the aim of bringing together information on all the different kinds of help government offered on childcare costs, it had had more than a million unique issues. More than 700,000 had also used the website’s calculator to find out which option offered by the government suited them best.

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