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Change to Childcare Vouchers Scheme

(23 Posts)
GwendolynMoon Fri 11-Mar-16 16:03:57

According to an email just sent from our childcare voucher provider:

"A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal decision has ruled that employers are no longer required to provide Childcare Vouchers during a period of maternity leave when only Statutory Maternity Pay is paid.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has released the following statement: “It had not been the intention of parliament to require employers to continue providing vouchers at a time when there was no salary which could be sacrificed in respect of them.”

Not good news for me as I am 10 weeks pregnant and only get SMP, was really going to come in handy that my employers would continue to pay childcare vouchers. Big sighs!

Laquila Fri 11-Mar-16 16:09:01

Noooooooooooo please tell me this isn't happening right now. I went on mat leave 6 weeks ago!

FishWithABicycle Fri 11-Mar-16 17:31:31

That's annoying!

Weezie85 Fri 11-Mar-16 18:27:24

Thats a pain

MsFiremanSam Sat 12-Mar-16 07:29:08

Noooooooooo!! Was relying on this for my daughter's nursery place 😭

Laquila Sat 12-Mar-16 07:36:22

I've googled, and there's a few articles from law firms/HR consultants about it, but I can't find anything saying when it'll be enforceable from...I'm just desperately hoping my employer doesn't bloody read them!

caker Sat 12-Mar-16 18:26:00

Oh no, I've just started mat leave! Nightmare! I hope my employer doesn't change the scheme. I've signed something confirming I'll continue to get the vouchers.

ForTheLoveOfSocks Sun 13-Mar-16 19:43:05

It can't happen. The only thing your not entitled to is your salary during leave. Vouchers aren't salary therefore when they calculate your SMP your pay after the vouchers are taken is what is used to calculate how much you will get.

It's much the same as company cars, cat allowances, company mobiles and laptops etc. They can't take them off you because its discrimination. The article doesn't even consider the rights of people on maternity leave by the sounds of it.

I personally wouldn't be worried about it

Julieb85 Sun 13-Mar-16 19:48:55

I wouldn't worry too much...the decision was made to class the vouchers a remuneration (as that's what was sacrificed) rather than a benefit. What most articles don't tell you is that this was one case where the lady didn't even show up to the hearing, so the decision was made purely on the small detail they had. It's still a very grey area until a law is passed and I doubt any companies would risk the claims if they were to change just yet.

mamapants Sun 13-Mar-16 19:50:21

I haven't read it yet myself but my colleague was telling me one of the arguments was that the person on mat leave is getting a benefit over and above what a working staff member- as they are getting the benefit without the sacrifice. I have to say I never thought it was very fair on the employer how it had previously been interpreted.

Stepspring Sun 13-Mar-16 20:06:39

I think the OP is correct. You do retain all benefits during maternity and if the employer paid for the childcare vouchers as part of a benefits package, then yes, they'd have to carry on providing them during maternity. This ruling is relating to childcare vouchers purchased by the employee through a salary sacrifice scheme, if they're on SMP then there is no salary to sacrifice so who pays for the childcare vouchers? It was unclear before and something I was hoping to take advantage of, this looks like them clarifying the matter.

GwendolynMoon Mon 14-Mar-16 11:09:21

That makes sense Step

I wish that it weren't the case but it seems odd that the voucher provider would have sent a mailshot out about it if it wasn't a clarification. Will have to look into it further I suppose.

kinkytoes Mon 14-Mar-16 11:14:49

Watching with interest as was hoping to continue with vouchers when I go on mat leave next week. As my 90% is calculated on my sacrificed salary rather than my full one, I thought it would help balance the books a bit. (I don't claim the max anyway).

Laquila Mon 14-Mar-16 14:00:26

But if it's not a daft question, why wouldnt employers take advantage of this ruling and stop paying them whilst employees using getting vouchers as a salary sacrifice scheme are on mat leave? Isnt the quote in the OP pretty black and white? I mean, I'm really hoping it isn't, but it looks that way 😟

ForTheLoveOfSocks Mon 14-Mar-16 19:24:36

Well childcare vouchers are going to be replaced by tax free childcare so I doubt most employers would bother with the hassle of trying it out and risking costly court battles

FishWithABicycle Mon 14-Mar-16 19:59:33

As my 90% is calculated on my sacrificed salary rather than my full one - surely employers are trying to have it both ways here. If they stop providing vouchers throughout mat leave then they had better provide Mat pay based on full salary not subtracted-from voucher-sacrificed salary.

Laquila Tue 15-Mar-16 08:24:36

That's a good point, Fish

user1466199170 Sun 19-Jun-16 20:22:52

Did any of you hear any more from your employers about this?

I'm midway through maternity leave and my vouchers have been stopped with no notice thanks to this! It's messed me right up!

RNBrie Sun 19-Jun-16 20:28:09

Still waiting for HMRC to issue revised guidelines...

www.eversheds.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Employment_and_labour_law/Salary_sacrifice_benefits_during_maternity_leave

DetestableHerytike Sun 19-Jun-16 20:39:10

Fish, it's not employers who have it both ways, though. Hmrc reimburses the 90% pay period so the employer is more or less indifferent to the actual level of pay in that period, it's the employer tasked with covering the vouchers during SMP though.

Liskee Sun 19-Jun-16 21:27:30

Check what your employers policy is with regards to this. Depending on who your employer is their policy may not have changed pending consolation or simply because they don't intend to. The tribunal, from my understanding, leaves it to the employer to determine their policy/discretion so don't panic just yet.

Liskee Sun 19-Jun-16 21:29:25

*consultation obvs

Dixiechick17 Sun 19-Jun-16 22:25:47

It's down to the employer. My employer has chosen to continue paying for childcare vouchers during smp. Although there is bo salary for it to come off, my employer paid the amount monthly on my behalf and I did not have to pay it back. Some employers will opt out whilst others will continue to pay it.

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