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Childcare Voucher Scheme

Busy Bees - one of the UK's leading childcare organisations

The West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust in conjunction with Busy Bees has introduced, as part of its family friendly initiative, a more flexible way to meet the costs of your childcare, whereby, part of your wages can be given up or ‘sacrificed’ in exchange for the face value of childcare vouchers. These vouchers are non-taxable and exempt from National Insurance contributions and therefore represent a saving for employees who receive them as part of their total employment package. The amount of income tax and National Insurance contributions you will save under the arrangement depends upon your current salary.

For further information advice and guidance, please contact your in-house childcare co-ordinator on Ext 2918. Or Contact Busy Bees on 08000 430860

Your questions answered

If I use vouchers am I restricted in the type of childcare I choose?

On the whole no you are not restricted. Vouchers can be used to pay for a wide range of childcare provision. However, all childcare providers who receive vouchers must be registered with Ofsted or with an equivalent authority.

Childcare Vouchers can cover children up to the age of 16 years of age

Registered and approved childcare include:

  • Registered Childminders, nurseries and play schemes
  • Out of hours clubs on school premises run by a school or local authority
  • Childcare schemes run by school governing bodies under the ‘extended schools scheme’
  • Childcare schemes run by approved providers, e.g. out-of-hours scheme or a provider approved under a ministry of Defence accreditation scheme.
  • Childcare given in the child’s home by a person* approved to care for your child or children (*Childcare provided in the child’s home will not qualify if the approved person is a relative of the child)

How much better off will I be if I join the scheme?

The amount of income tax and National Insurance contributions you will save under the arrangement depends upon your current salary.

Each parent or legal guardian can receive childcare vouchers, which are non-taxable and exempt from National Insurance up to £50 per week (£217 per month).

How much can you save?

Can I receive childcare vouchers for more than one child?

Yes, however the total benefit is capped at £217 per month irrespective of the number of children. You can receive childcare vouchers that are given to different childcare providers. This is particularly useful if you have more than one child and use different childcare providers.

Can I use this arrangement and receive vouchers for any child?

No. You must be the parent or legal guardian of the child? This does include foster children and legally adopted children.

Does my carer have to be registered with Busy Bees?

Yes, in order to pay your childcare provider we need to have their bank details. We are also required to check that they are registered with Ofsted. All childcare providers are paid by BACS transfer direct into their bank accounts.

Does it cost my childcare provider to join Busy Bees?

No. Busy Bees will also cost the cover of postage and telephone calls. Childcare providers can even check their account on-line and redeem the vouchers you pay with.

If I join Busy Bees will it affect my NHS pension?

The NHS Pensions Agency has confirmed that the value of childcare vouchers cannot count as pensionable pay. This means that you will not pay pension contributions on the value of childcare vouchers you receive as part of your salary.

NHS Pension Scheme benefits are based on pensionable pay, therefore should any benefits (e.g. Ill Health Retirement, Early Retirement, or Death Benefits) become payable whilst you are participating in the scheme, or within a year of leaving the scheme, they will be reduced.

Providing you ensure that you are not receiving Childcare Vouchers for three years before retiring or leaving the NHS your overall pension will not be affected.

For further information please contact your Pension Advisor on 01284 829593

What happens if I am an employee and I expect to have some maternity leave?

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is calculated on the amount of average weekly earnings during the 8 week period, fifteen weeks prior to the expected date of confinement. A ‘salary sacrifice’ arrangement will reduce the amount of salary that is liable to National Insurance contributions. Therefore any ‘salary sacrifice’ entered into during this 8-week period will reduce entitlement to SMP.

If you are receiving SMP and maternity pay you should contact the Personnel department to find out whether you are receiving sufficient income to enter into a ‘salary sacrifice’ arrangement and receive childcare vouchers after taking into account your other financial commitments which are deducted at source whilst on maternity leave.

For any enquiries regarding Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Paternity (SPP) please contact the Personnel Department on 01284 713528

What happens if I am entitled to Working Tax Credit (WTC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC)?

If you enter into a "salary sacrifice" arrangement then it is the reduced cash salary or wage that is paid to you that is to be used when calculating your entitlement to WTC or CTC.

The values of the Childcare Vouchers you receive are ignored for the purposes of the calculation. Under WTC it is possible to receive help with the cost of childcare, the "childcare element" of WTC. If you are receiving Childcare Vouchers under this arrangement you will not receive any contribution towards the face value of the Childcare Vouchers you have received. If you qualify, you will only be entitled to the "childcare element" of WTC to the extent that you pay for qualifying childcare using your wages or salary. For example if you enter into a "salary sacrifice" arrangement and receive Childcare Vouchers worth £50 in a week and yet your childcare costs are £80 a week then you will pay the balance of £30 out of the pay or salary you are paid. You may be entitled to receive a payment under the "childcare element" of the WTC dependent upon your personal circumstances.

For further information please contact the Inland Revenue.

Ok so I want to join the scheme what do I do next?

Call Busy Bees direct on Freephone 08000 430 860

Or contact the Trust in-house childcare advisor on ext 2918

You will then receive a ‘Parent Pack’ with salary sacrifice forms (order form) to complete for childcare vouchers.

Childcare Voucher Scheme ordering and payment process

  • When you have completed the salary sacrifice form (order form) you must sign and date the Agreement to vary your Terms and Conditions of Employment on the reverse of the salary sacrifice form (order form. You must return your salary sacrifice form directly to Busy Bees no later than the third day of the month.
  • Vouchers arrive at your home address on or around your payday. Vouchers can be used for the following months childcare.
  • Before using your voucher, check your payslip to confirm that the correct deduction from your salary has been made for your voucher.
  • Pass your vouchers to your Childcare provider as payment.
  • Your Childcare provider will redeem your vouchers with Busy Bees.
  • Busy Bees will pay your childcare provider direct via BACS and a remittance statement will be sent to your childcare provider direct from the bank.
  • You then decide if you want to re-order more vouchers in time for your next payday (unless you have already requested vouchers for a longer period).


Funding for Pre-school Children

Early education takes place outside a child’s home. Children can have part time early education in day nurseries, pre-school playgroups, with registered childminders approved by the council, and in schools. The choice will depend on what’s available in your local area.

Before your child can start free part-time early education you will need to complete a Parent/Carer Declaration Form, which your childcare provider will give you. You will also need to show them proof of your child's date of birth.

To find out more about this either ask the school, pre-school playgroup or nursery which your child goes to or contact your Childcare Co-ordinator on Ext 2918

When will my child be entitled to Early Education?

Early education is also called nursery education or pre-school education and takes place in a group setting outside the home. Some registered childminders in the Suffolk Childminding Network can also offer free early education places.

How much does early education cost?

All children in Suffolk can start free part-time early education the term after their third birthday.

What is a part time place?

A place of up to five 2½ hour morning or afternoon sessions per week, for at least 11 weeks each term or 33 weeks in a year.

When can my child start? Look at this chart:

If your child's birthday is between ...

They can start free early education ...

1 September and 31 December

Spring Term
(the term after the Christmas holiday, which starts in January)

1 January and 30 April

Summer Term
(the term after Easter holidays, which usually starts in April)

1 May and 31 August

Autumn Term
(the term after the long summer holiday, which usually starts in September)

 For further information contact Suffolk Childcare Information Service on 0845 60 8000 33 or speak to your in-house Childcare Co-ordinator on ext 2918.