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Childcare Vouchers have been deducted from my SMP.

(81 Posts)
ChunkysMum Wed 18-Jul-12 12:56:43

DD was born in November, our benefit selections are yearly and take effect from January.

At the 'roadshow' that explains about our benefits before selection I asked about childcare vouchers and whether you could save them up and was told they'd be valid until the child's 15th birthday.

I was unsure whether I'd be eligible for childcare vouchers whilst on maternity leave but, as far as I could see when selecting my benefits, I met all of the criteria, so I selected them.

They sent me the information about my childcare vouchers so I thought I must have been eligible. I've used some of them.

I've looked at my payslips today (I know I should have done this sooner) and they're deducted the £243 every month since January from my SMP for childcare vouchers.

Should this have happened? Can they decide that I'm actually not eligible for childcare vouchers and ask for them all back if I ask for the SMP back?

What should I do?

ChunkysMum Tue 06-Nov-12 19:55:34

Thank you Lougle. Doe you know if there's a time limit on raising a grievance? I called HR yesterday and today for them to email me the required documents and I've not yet received them.

Lougle Tue 06-Nov-12 19:46:16

I imagine that this is something that would be dealt with by a tribunal, and that is free of charge.

So, with that in mind, you don't need to be worried about the grievance process, just follow it through.

ChunkysMum Tue 06-Nov-12 19:18:05

I've called work and asked them to email the grievance policies to me.

They have sent a letter saying they will waive the cost of my CCVs that was above my final holiday pay as a good will gesture.

If anyone has any advice on raising a grievance and going through with this, I would very much appreciate it.

ChunkysMum Mon 05-Nov-12 15:00:21

I have now finished work, got my last payslip on 31st October and they have deducted the cost of childcare vouchers from my final payslip. (Didn't act earlier as I have been in hospital with meningitis)

I'm panicking now. I cannot afford a lawyer. I am now a full time student, DH earns £16,000 PA so I don't think we'll qualify for any kind of legal help. I don't have legal help in my home insurance.

How do I raise a grievance?

MrAnchovy Sat 25-Aug-12 18:43:03

Oops, should have mentioned that the reason I am posting this is that you need to get your side lined up now because things will need to happen very quickly once you return to work because you will need to raise the grievance immediately they make the deduction of wages. Actually as they have notified you of their intention to deduct you possibly need to act now.

MrAnchovy Sat 25-Aug-12 18:39:39

Only just picked up on this - I don't usually watch this topic as there are some really knowledgable people here who cover all the angles.

From your employers letter it looks like they are prepared to stick their neck out on the basis of a fairly shaky legal view - and why not, they have nothing to lose but the goodwill of their employees.

If you are willing to stick your neck out you can raise a grievance over this and appeal the result (which will surely be unsatisfactory) at an Employment Tribunal. You must take advice from your trade union or ACAS and have top draw legal representation to succeed in this, but succeed you surely will as their assertion that a policy that impacts on men during their 2 weeks of paternity leave 'equally' as it does on women during their 12 months of maternity leave is not discriminatory on grounds of sex is clearly incorrect.

ChunkysMum Thu 23-Aug-12 21:17:50

Thank you Flowery.

I am due back on 31st October. We'll see what happens.

flowery Thu 23-Aug-12 18:20:07

The fact that the scheme is effective for tax purposes doesn't mean it meets employment law requirements.

I would just thank them for their reply, and reiterate that if they attempt to reduce your salary on your return from maternity leave you will be raising a grievance for unlawful deduction from salary/breach of contract and maternity-related discrimination.

ChunkysMum Wed 22-Aug-12 19:59:46

Apparently so. HMRC just kept directing me from department to department confused

Is it worth raising a grievance? What's the process? Will it cost me?

prh47bridge Tue 21-Aug-12 18:22:47

So they think a scheme which clearly contravenes the HMRC guidance to which I linked is ok? I suggest you ask HMRC yourself.

ChunkysMum Tue 21-Aug-12 14:49:29

Ok, go a reply today:

Having reviewed the matter with our legal advisers, the Company’s position remains the same. We believe the process previously outlined regarding reimbursement of benefits during maternity is fair, lawful and non-discriminatory as it applies consistently to all employees during a period of statutory leave or on nil pay.

When you signed up to the benefits scheme you declared that you had read and understood the benefits scheme Terms and Conditions which includes the clause on repayment of benefits in excess of your allowance. In addition, the letter which was issued to you prior to going onto maternity leave, clearly indicated the method by which the Company operates benefits during maternity and the options available to you, including opting out of benefits so that you didn’t incur a negative balance upon return to pay.

On this basis the Company has a contractual right to deduct the balance owed upon your return to paid work / or from your final pay.

Please note, as part of registering the benefits scheme as a compliant salary sacrifice scheme with the HMRC, we provided a copy of the benefits scheme terms and conditions with the application. The HMRC has provided its approval that the benefits scheme salary sacrifice scheme is effective for tax and national insurance purposes and therefore we are comfortable that the reimbursement method we have chosen is lawful.

I realise that this may not be the response you were hoping for and again would like to remind you that if you wish to opt-out of childcare vouchers, you may do so this month, under the QLE – going onto nil pay. Please confirm by email if you wish to opt out by 28th August and I will make the necessary changes in the system on your behalf. The opt-out would be processed in August so that no further contributions will be sent to the CCV company^ from September, i.e. the last contribution would be provided for August payroll.

I am pleased to confirm that the refund of childcare vouchers which were inadvertently deducted from your SMP has been processed in your August payroll. Again, I would like to offer my sincere apologies for this admin oversight.

I will leave you to seek legal representation as you see fit.

What on earth do I do now? (Thanks for the help so far everyone)

Spammertime Mon 20-Aug-12 19:15:34

Ssmile it's always your employer buying the vouchers - that's the whole principle of salary sacrifice. It sounds like your employer had imposed some (unnecessary) extra condition (which is of course their prerogative) - however there is nothing tax wise that means they HAVE to do this. I work for a professional service company who advise on this type of scheme, have just been on 12m mat leave, and did not have to spend what I earned in vouchers each month.

TheDoctrineOfEnnis Sun 19-Aug-12 22:41:35

Hmm, I didn't know that. Thanks.

ssmile Sun 19-Aug-12 20:31:04

Yes you can accrue the vouchers but during the period when you are on SMP or NIL pay its your employer paying the vouchers not you, hence you need to spend those vouchers not the ones you have paid for. My DH has been accuring his vouchers the entire time Ive been on leave.

ssmile Sun 19-Aug-12 20:28:07

Voucher scheme was accor I cant remember who they changed to off the top of my head when accor got bought out ot just name changed? But those are the rules of our scheme. I didn't understand it fully when I went on Mat Leave 12mths ago so wasnt crafty enough to up my vouchers to the full £243 which was a shame (I did re-read the blooming policy three times before going off but it was deliberatley obscure I think!) I go back to work next week :-( cant believe a year has whizzed by. But I did get the nursery to bill ahead and I know of at least two other women where I work who have done the same to ensure they stay in the scheme whilst on mat leave. This is especially important if you tip the higher tax bracket and were in the scheme with another child pre the tax rule changes.

TheDoctrineOfEnnis Sun 19-Aug-12 17:25:18

ssmile I don't understand that as there is nothing on the rules
Preventing vouchers being saved up. Is your employer in a voucher scheme or do they make direct payments!

flowery Sun 19-Aug-12 16:46:48

Jennielou what help/advice do you actually need- sorry I'm not 100% clear what your question is.

On a separate note, you do realise both parents can take childcare vouchers at the same time, it doesn't have to be one or the other.

ssmile Sun 19-Aug-12 16:42:36

Can I just add that I had to USE my vouchers in the month they were paid into my salary or be kicked out of the scheme. I work for a government agency so they are very tight on the scheme and as I wanted to stay in the scheme they paid me my vouchers while on SMP and NIL pay but I had to set up a standing order with the nursery to pay them straight out again against an invoice for fees in advance for the babies nursery place. Luckly this is my second baby so I know the nursery well and they were happy for me to do this.

jennielou Sun 12-Aug-12 22:02:46

HI All, Ive only just signed up tonight to Mumsnet to post a very similar message. I've read this thread with great interest from the beginning, then found it stops here - what a cliff hanger ;) Is there any news?

I'm pregnant with my second child (21 weeks) and currently dad makes the salary sacrifice for the CCV as we were advised (12+months ago) that if No.2 came along this would come out of my SMP.

My maternity package is as basic as it comes so when a friend of mine told me to look into this this, i thought I'd join up and see if anyone else was in the same position.

If i need to get the salary sacrifice setup from my account to get the benefit then i'd guess id need to do it sooner rather than later? Can anyone advise on this as we really could do with Daddy's full wage.

Any help would be really appreciated.

baffledmum Mon 06-Aug-12 20:43:24

can I add that you need to be aware that if you do KIT days and are paid for those, then your employer can deduct the money for the CCV from that salary.

As Flowery says though, it cannot deduct from your SMP.

ChunkysMum Mon 06-Aug-12 12:11:42

Sent it.

Thank you Flowery. I also discussed this with an employment lawyer who advised me to cc her in the email.

Will let you know how it goes.

flowery Wed 01-Aug-12 23:19:37



TheDoctrineOfEnnis Wed 01-Aug-12 23:13:33

I second HMtheQueen. Well done Flowery.L

HMTheQueen Wed 01-Aug-12 22:17:53

I've really got nothing to add to this thread as Flowery has said it all - but can I just say this:

Flowery - you are always here helping people and giving really good, sound, and helpful HR advice. I'm sure you've helped to stop many potential issues in their tracks before unknowing employers make huge errors. You are one of those MN heroes. I salute you.

flowery Wed 01-Aug-12 21:57:54

I'd just thank them for confirming that they will continue to provide the vouchers, then say

As I'm sure you are aware, a salary sacrifice scheme is an agreement to permanently vary the amount of salary I receive, and constitutes a legally binding change to terms and conditions. The salary sacrifice I entered into involved my agreement to reduce my salary to £x. Any attempt by [employer name] to reduce my salary further on my return from maternity leave without consent to compensate for having had to provide vouchers during my maternity leave will be a breach of contract and/or unlawful deduction/s from salary. As the reduction in salary/deductions would be a direct consequence of my maternity leave, such actions would also constitute unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

I am hereby placing [employer name] on notice that a grievance will duly be raised should any attempt be made to reduce/deduct from my salary without my consent for discriminatory reasons.


Don't put bosh. grin

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