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Childcare Vouchers-how does nanny get qualification needed?

(32 Posts)
majorstress Mon 21-Mar-05 15:46:45

My workplace has a scheme starting in April 2005 (new government rules) whereby I can get £50 a month towards childcare free of tax and PAYE-it says that a nanny would need a CRB check and a paediatric first aid cert-which I would like anyway myself. But where does she go to get this: "They will also have to show an understanding of working with children – at the very least this would mean attending an induction course on caring for children in a home environment. " Has anyone gone down this road already?

soapbox Mon 21-Mar-05 15:52:29

Majorstress - most qualified nannies would meet this requriement. Mine have all had their police checks and keep their first aid certificates up to date and of course their course covers caring for children in the home. I always pay for my nannies to do the first aid certificate and give them the time off to attend the course (usually every 2 years or so).


IIRC I think mine went on the St John's ambulance first aid courses for child carers.

Azure Mon 21-Mar-05 16:00:06

Hi Majorstress, there is some information on this government site (see the Info for Child Carers, then bottom of the Qualifications section) Sure Start

uwila Mon 21-Mar-05 16:20:36

Majorstress, do you realise that with this scheme your salary is reduced by £50 (hence benefits such as pension contributions are also reduce).

Personally, I think this offering is a scam that does more to generate business for the ONLY agency qualified to grant accredidation (who also "coincidentally" run the classes your nanny needs to take to qualify for the tax break. Seems to be a bit of a back door approach to fircing nannies to be accredited... SCAM SCAM SCAM.

Okay, I'l shut up now. I never trust anything that is run by the goverment.

Azure Mon 21-Mar-05 16:38:36

DH and I together could save a couple of thousand pounds a year under the new scheme - sounds good to me.

uwila Mon 21-Mar-05 17:06:52

Azure, have you taken into account not only the amount that you won't be putiing into pensions but also what the company won't be contributing. Also, if you get say a 7% raise each year, that's 7% on your new reduced salaries.

Also, "qualified" nannies cost more to hire, not to mention the extra tax you have topay (which is not insignificant).

Anyway, if I take al of this into account, it's not worth the paper it's written on. (might be for you though)

CountessDracula Mon 21-Mar-05 17:14:43

I think it's probably worth it if you are both higher rate tax payers.

So you would lose £2600 a year each from your salary, but gain the 40% tax on it ie £1040 per annum. Plus your outlay on childcare would be reduced by £2600 a year netting off the reduction.

If your employer's pension contribution is say 10%, you are only losing £260 of pension (plus the compound interest of course) per annum. I would be inclined to take the vouchers and then put the additional £260 into the pension as AVCs, then you are still £780 each a year better off with no change to your pension.

Presumably other benefits would not be reduced in line eg healthcare as they are the same regardless of your salary.

Blu Tue 22-Mar-05 14:49:24

Well I get no company pension and a 7% pay rise would be out of the question - so the £50 a WEEK tax free is well worth having. Also, don't forget each parent can claim the voucher allowance. (DS is at nursery)

elliott Tue 22-Mar-05 14:56:36

uwila I can't believe you're arguing against this scheme which actually provides tax relief on childcare costs - which you've previously been pretty vociferous on.
I think the pension thing is worth thinking about but probably not worth not doing it for - you can always make additional contributions if you're on money purchase and if you're on final salary it doesn't make any odds at all unless you are about to retire. Pay rises continue as before (with my employer anyway).
I think it is entirely reasonable that there shoudl be some standards set regarding the quality of childcare that the govnt/taxpayer is subsidising. the nanny registration requirements seem pretty minimal to me and are in fact an extension of the scheme in order to allow users of nannies to take advantage of it.

Martini Tue 22-Mar-05 19:59:09

Uwila it is not entirely true that "qualified" nannies cost more to hire - I recently interviewed a nanny who had a very impressive track record, great references etc and who told me that there was no point her getting a qualification as she could earn the same without. The amount she could earn was £95 net per day! She didn't get the job .....

This of course may change as a result of introduction of registered childcarers

As for the qualifications required - paediatric first aid courses are easy to come by if you can afford to pay £40 and the childcare qualification covers a huge range of possibles including Introduction to Childminding which takes 12 hours and is offered free by most local authorities.

From my point of view here in London the biggest problem is that an foreign applicants need a CRB check from their own country if they haven't lived here for 5 years. I can appreciate the reasoning behind it but how easy is that if you come from Slovakia/ former Yugoslvaia etc etc?

uwila Wed 23-Mar-05 09:07:08

My current nanny is from Estonia. She has a degree in education, a degree in helthcare (including such things as nutrition), and a dgree in veterinary medicine. She has raised two children of her own and speaks three languages. Yet she is not qualified for this scheme. I guess my biggest gripe is that the governemt thinks she (or I) should incur extra costs and time to get her qualified so I can take advantage of this tax break. Not to mention my stingy employer probably won't participate anyway. I work for a HUGE company, but when I enquired with HR a couple of months ago they had not heard of this scheme.

So, if nanny goes to get qualified, who is to pay for that? I certainly wouldn't like it if my employer told me to go seek training on my own time. So, it's only fair that I pay her for the time it takes her to go to these classes. And, where are they? When are they? If they are during the work day, then I ned to pay someone else to look after DD while nanny gets trainly.

Mostly, it angers me that it is not entirely up to me who looks after my kids. I am soooooo opposed to the government telling my who/how/where/what they deem suitable for my child's daycare and/or healthcare.

Ah and the self-employed issue. I have to say that seems rather unfair as well. Why can't each of us just deduct x amount of our childcare expenses from our taxable income and skip all of the red tape (and administrative overhead costs). Would that be more more effiiwnt and fairer for all.

So yes, Elliot, I am all for tax breaks regarding childcare for working parents. It's the string a complications attached to this particular scheme that I have a problem with.

Oh well, as some of you may be aware, I am seeking a change of nanny anyway. Perhaps I'll require they they obtain this accredidation in order to get the job.

Oh, I forgot my favourite part about this scheme. The company who is sole sourced by the government to determine if your nanny qualifies is also the only company who teaches the the classes (for a fee). Hmmmmm... sounds a bit of a cosy relationship there. Why is this sole sourced to a single company? Couldn't many companies qualify to say if a nanny qualifies, and then different companies offer the courses?

But, I have to say that CD's calculations are right. Many people may still come out ahead with these vouchers. So I suppose it is helpful to the mainstream. But, it still leaves a lot of people out.

uwila Wed 23-Mar-05 09:08:42

"trainly"??? Did I type that? TRAINED

uwila Wed 23-Mar-05 09:48:59

The name of the company who determines if nannies qualify for this scheme is Nestor Primecare Services Ltd., but for the life of me I can't find a website. Will keep looking....

uwila Wed 23-Mar-05 10:53:21

For more info see http://www.childcareapprovalscheme.co.uk/parents/index.asp

uwila Wed 23-Mar-05 10:54:47

Might want to look here... http://www.childcareapprovalscheme.co.uk/parents/index.asp

Bozza Wed 23-Mar-05 11:14:32

I think that the govt has to have some stipulations to ensure that people are only claiming fairly. I am on a final salary pension scheme so am not affected by reduced contributions (although as I only work 3 days a week this is only counted as 3/5 of a year but thats a different issue). And pay rise? Whats that? Didn't even get cost of living this year.

WideWebWitch Wed 23-Mar-05 12:00:49

Thanks for this thread, useful stuff.

Azure Wed 23-Mar-05 12:12:08

The company I work for has decided that the £50pw salary sacrifice is not taken account of when calculating pensionable salary, or other benefits such as maternity pay - so basically these benefits are not affected. Employees have to sign up for the scheme for at least a year, unless there is a life-changing event (having a baby, moving, etc), and it represents a change in contract. It can affect tax credits receivable currently. As well as for nannies / childminders / nurseries vouchers can be used for approved holiday play schemes right up to when a child leaves school.

Bozza Wed 23-Mar-05 12:23:49

Ah yes we already had the salary sacrifice with NI free vouchers previously and it certainly did not affect my maternity pay.

Martini Wed 23-Mar-05 21:14:08

Uwila, I think you have made a mistake about Nestor (the company administering the voucher scheme) being the only company to teach the courses for the qualification. If you follow the "qualification" link on the childcare approval site that you quoted you will see that there are loads of qualifications that are eligable - NVQ, NNEB, CACHE etc which are offered by FE colleges all over the country. In many cases you can get these courses free of charge e.g. if you are unemployed.

I have enquired with my local Sure Start vis a vis my own nanny and she could do a course in the evenings free of charge which takes only 12 hours as I said previously. While I take your point about paying for her time, I would also point out that many people study for qualifications to advance their career in their own time because they realise that it increases their employability.

All that Nestor is doing as far as I can see is acting as a central registering agency to ensure that a person has all the valid qualifications. Its got to be done by someone - either a government dept or sub contractor.

I do think it is only reasonable that the government asks for a UK recognised qualification - can you imagine the uproar if it was found that they were subisdising someone who had no qualifications, no experience and worst of all some kind of criminal record.

While I agree that its frustrating for you and your own Estonian nanny that her own qualifications count for nothing here (even if veterinary medicine isn't really the same as childcare) - its also true that many professionals who have foreign qualifications have to do UK conversion courses e.g. doctors, lawyers, accountants.

uwila Wed 23-Mar-05 21:44:04

MArtini, I just meant that if they deem her existing qualifications don't count (and they won't count)then they teach a suitable filler course for a fee. Also, they charge £96 up front. How many nannies are in this country... now how much is Nestor making on that £96 fee alone??? Just wondering.

Anyway, I'm off my soapbox. If I'm the only one who is so skeptical about the usefulness of this scheme, then perhaps I'm a bit too much of a skeptic.

Blu Thu 24-Mar-05 10:55:54

And Uwila - tell your stingy employers that they actually make a small profit by operting this scheme. The cost of the voucers to them is a bit less than the savings on their employers tax/NI contribution. So, across a huge company, the amount could be significant. Administratively, it's v simple to operate.

majorstress Wed 30-Mar-05 23:12:29

ermm, hi again. I ran away after starting this thread because I immediately realised I had stepped into the "definition" morass by saying Nanny (then went off sick and then on easter break)-I can't afford a real NNEB-type nanny. So I am talking about someone who might call themselves a nanny but isn't qualified in the UK, probably from a country, age-group, or a lifestyle situation where living in in London and my poxy pocket money of about £100 pw would be valued. I would be happy for them to do 12 hours of training at my expense, especially in the evening, I just wondered where to sign them up-and to my surprise y'all have risen to the bait admirably!!!! It is probably worth it for me to sign up despite everything-my only worry is figuring out those damned IRS forms we americans are cursed with.

majorstress Wed 30-Mar-05 23:27:59

my latest thinking is to keep my new find, a lovely Slovak who is eager to do all my housework on Sundays, and weekend babystting, and have a nice chat too (she's already au pair for someone else all week), and try to get 2 more local live outs-

1)a firm but fair older mum-type or other bossy one who can marshall the troops out the door from 7 am to 9 am every day, AND

2)a fun- youngish nanny type (some good-sounding ones on gumtree, who even have the right paperwork! they say) who knows how to play and take to activites for the three problem afternoons a week (after school club for dd1 on the other 2 days, which she loves anyway, and dd2 is in my work nursery then). Then no-one has to work/hang around from 7 am to 7 pm. Except me . But the dds are getting easier by the day (or maybe I am getting better and managing the little divils!!!!!!!) so I think I can cope after 6 pm now-I always had to anyway with my last live-in, Inertia, getting in the way as well.

That should work-shouldn't it?

uwila Thu 31-Mar-05 09:20:39

Honestly, majorstress... it sounds potentially very complicated. How much time do you want to spend managing your team? Perhaps you could arrange the set up so that 1 of them supervises the other 2. That way you only have to manage the 1.

I find managing one domestic employee to be more than enough at times. God only know how I would cope with 3 of them!

I thinkI have FINALLY learned the importance of previous experience. I am now only considering nannies who have previous experience as live-in nanny or live-in au pair with at least two references. I'm not too fussed about the NNEB qualification. But, I do want to know that they are well aware of what it is like to live in someone else's house.

Gumtree? Haven't thought to look there. Maybe I'll do that now...

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