EXCLUSIVE: More than four-fifths (82%) of employer respondents would like to see the joining deadline for childcare voucher schemes extended beyond April 2018, according to research by Jelf Employee Benefits.
Its survey of 192 senior HR professionals also found that 63% of respondents will be making their employees aware of the deadline to join childcare voucher schemes, while 16% of respondents took this action in 2017. Less than one in 10 (9%) will not be making their employees aware of the deadline to join childcare voucher schemes.
Just 8% would not like the deadline for joining childcare voucher schemes extended past April 2018.
The childcare voucher scheme is being phased out in order to be replaced by the government’s tax-free childcare initiative, which was introduced in April 2017. The tax-free childcare scheme provides parents with children under the age of 12 up to £2,000 per child per year, or up to £4,000 per child per year if employees have a disabled child under the age of 17.
The issue of whether the childcare voucher scheme should remain open is scheduled to be discussed in Parliament on Monday 15 January 2018.
Steve Herbert (pictured), head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, said: “Clearly, there is overwhelming support for the deadline for new savers under the childcare voucher regime to be extended further. This is really quite important and relevant given that the issue is to be debated in Parliament in January. The Petitions Committee agreed to schedule a debate on the petition to keep childcare vouchers open on Monday 15 January 2018 at 4.30pm. The debate will be held in Westminster Hall, the second debating chamber in the House of Commons.
“The other factor that jumps out is that very few employers have actually communicated this issue to their employees in 2017. This suggests that many parent-employees may be unaware of the need to make a decision regarding either childcare vouchers versus tax-free childcare, or indeed the key differences between the two offerings which are significant for some families. This is more than concerning given that the closing date for new members to childcare voucher schemes is April 2018.”