The University of Reading childcare voucher scheme
UPDATE – 31 March 2020
We understand that you may have questions about your childcare vouchers as normal childcare arrangements have been disrupted due to the coronavirus outbreak. Computershare, our childcare voucher provider, have gathered together some of the most common questions and answered them below.
If you wish to make any changes to your childcare vouchers, you can manage your childcare voucher account on-line at www.computersharevoucherservices.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Any changes to your childcare vouchers should be made on-line by the end of each month and will take effect the following month. In exceptional circumstances, please e-mail email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I reduce or cancel my vouchers if my childcare setting is closed?
Most childcare providers and nurseries will continue to take payments from parents whether their services are used or not, even during the Coronavirus lockdown. Nurseries will generally give 2 weeks holiday per year, but parents still have to pay for the rest of the year. Each provider is different so parents should check with their provider regarding contracts/agreements before reducing their voucher deductions, as they may be obliged to pay the fees.
If a childcare provider is not expecting payments while the child is in isolation because of the virus, then parents may wish to consider reducing their order value. The minimum value that can be ordered is £10 per month. Parents need to check with their provider before making any reduction.
Parents need to talk to their childcare providers about whether they must continue to pay fees. This may be covered in any contract in place with the provider. For example, a contract may state that no refunds will be given should the provider be forced to close for reasons beyond its control.
Some childcare providers may refund fees, or not require payment, if these exceptional circumstances are covered by their insurance, or if they receive funds from the government.
I want to stop receiving vouchers for a short period as I have a balance built up. Can I re-start my voucher order again after a couple of months?
Yes, as long as you restart again within 12 months of your last voucher purchase (pay date not issue date) and are still with the same employer.
What’s the benefit of keeping my childcare voucher salary deductions?
If you pay basic rate tax and take the maximum voucher deduction of £243, you make savings of £77.76 per month. If you pay higher rate tax and take the maximum voucher deduction of £124, you make savings of £52.08 per month.
I am a key worker. Can I still use my vouchers for payment?
Yes – providing the childcare voucher provider is registered with Computershare to accept the vouchers.
My childcare provider is no longer in business. What can I do with my vouchers?
We have a large network of carers who you can use your vouchers with. There’s an option to search for other registered providers within your online account.
Vouchers don’t expire until the 1 September after your youngest child’s 15th birthday (16th birthday if the child is registered disabled).
Can I get my vouchers refunded?
The University’s scheme does allow refunds. All voucher refunds must be processed back through your salary so that the appropriate NI and tax is paid.
I sent advance payment to my childcare provider who has since closed down, how do I get my money back?
You will need to get in contact with the childcare provider who will need to arrange for the funds to be returned to Computershare, who will then return the money to your account. Please contact Human Resources for the bank details the childcare provider must use to return the funds.
Is there an expiry date on vouchers?
E-vouchers are valid for as long as you have an eligible child. Paper vouchers are valid for 12 months, but you can request a re-print after this period or exchange the paper voucher for an e-voucher through your online account.
Childcare Vouchers and the Tax-free Childcare Scheme
The childcare voucher scheme is no longer available to new applicants.
The Government closed childcare voucher schemes to new entrants with effect from 4th October 2018 and introduced the Tax-free Childcare (TFC) scheme. TFC is now the only scheme open to new applicants. This provides parents with children under the age of 12 up to £2,000 a year per child to help cover childcare costs. For every £8 a parent pays in, the Government will pay in an extra £2.
Parents can open an online account through the government website GOV.UK, which you can use to pay for childcare from a registered provider. To qualify, parents will have to be in work, and each expecting to earn at least £120 a week and not more than £100,000 per annum.
Parents who are already in the University’s childcare voucher scheme will be able to continue until the September following your child's 15th birthday, or for as long as the University provides it and you remain eligible. You will not see any changes and you will continue to pay for and receive your vouchers in the normal way.
You can switch to TFC at any time, but please note that you cannot be in both TFC and the University childcare voucher scheme at the same time. Once you have joined TFC, you cannot switch back to the childcare voucher scheme. If you successfully register for TFC you must inform Human Resources within 90 days and then your childcare vouchers will stop.
Where can I use childcare vouchers?
Childcare vouchers can be used for all types of registered childcare, such as:
|When your child is under 5 years old||When your child is 5 and over|
|Nursery||After school & breakfast clubs|
|Crèche, nanny & Au Pair services||Residential activity holidays and day camps|
How do I change or stop my vouchers?
If you wish to amend the amount of salary you exchange for vouchers, you will need to do this through your on-line account, or by e-mailing the Computershare Customer Service Team. The minimum value you can exchange for a voucher is £10.
If you wish to stop receiving childcare vouchers you should contact the Computershare Customer Services Team. If there is any credit remaining in your account, you can either continue to use this up, or request a refund. You will need to complete a refund request form and submit it to Human Resources. You can suspend your payments temporarily, but you must receive a voucher once every 12 months to retain your eligibility for the scheme.
Computershare can be contacted at:
How much can I save?
The government has set a limit on the amount of salary that can be exchanged for childcare vouchers. The amount of salary that you can exchange depends on the level of tax that you pay. Because the value of the vouchers is taken directly from your gross salary, you won't pay tax or National Insurance (NI) contributions on the vouchers, so it will cost you less to pay for your childcare arrangements.
For use as general guidance only. Minimum value £10.
If you were already in the scheme before 6th April 2011, and have stayed in the scheme continuously, you will be able to exchange £243 per month for childcare vouchers, irrespective of the level of tax you pay.
Child tax credit
Each working family situation is unique, therefore you should always take advice regarding Child Tax Credits and childcare vouchers. Tax credit information is available from HMRC https://www.gov.uk/child-tax-credit.
Please view the following for more information about Childcare vouchers
Childcare voucher leaflet
Computershare Customer Services
Telephone: 0345 002 1111
Computershare Voucher Services Ltd
Room 110 Whiteknights House
+44(0)118 378 8751
+44(0)118 378 6770