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What now? Child care vouchers - again!

(13 Posts)
Pootle78 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:13:29

Work had told me they won't pay me ccv whilst on mat leave, I emailed them to say as salary sacrifice I believe my vouchers are a non cash benefit and should continue and quoted HMRC guidelines about continuous payment. Also told them if they tried to take payment after I return it could be counted as discrimination linked to my mat leave.

Another email from payroll has been received copied in to the Head of HR professional services basically saying

Hr have confirmed the Organisation stance as per the policy they have written and as im on SMP if i want to continue receiving CCV the salary sacrifice arrangement will temporarily cease and I WILL have to pay for the childcare vouchers by other means whilst on m/l  But an interest free loan is available to cover the cost of ccv during the period.  Alternatively, i can stop receiving vouchers until i return to work.

Help - Where do I go next, I have to respond by Wednesday or they'll automatically stop them.

Is there any wording that can be written in the policy which prevents them from paying them?

Pootle78 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:17:16

They have this line in the policy
"Childcare vouchers will not be provided during any period if unpaid leave."

Is that enough for them to not to give them?

flowery Mon 11-Feb-13 15:21:52

No. No employer can put something in a policy or contract that gets them out of legal obligations.

I would suggest writing saying that you have no intention of coming out of the scheme, and if they cease providing your contractual benefit of childcare vouchers during your maternity leave you will be raising a grievance for maternity-related discrimination.

This really isn't a grey area, despite the fact that employers would like it to be.

Pootle78 Mon 11-Feb-13 15:25:57

I've already sent that email flowery and this was the response!

flowery Mon 11-Feb-13 18:28:39

Ok well if you've already said you'll raise a grievance if they fail to provide vouchers then that's what you need to do.

WidowWadman Mon 11-Feb-13 21:08:58

My work tried that too. I phoned HMRC who kindly explained to them that they were mistaken. I also threatened a grievance. Eventually I got my vouchers (and the money they wrongly deducted from my SMP back)

Pootle78 Tue 12-Feb-13 08:47:27

Widow who did you speak to at HMRC? (which department?) when I spoke to them they weren't that helpful!!!

flowery Tue 12-Feb-13 10:31:26

You need to raise a grievance Pootle. In the grievance you need to point out that the Equality Act and HMRC rules state that non cash benefits must be provided throughout maternity leave, and that deductions cannot be made from SMP.

They have confirmed that the organisation has a policy of breaching the law, meaning their policy is to discriminate against women on maternity leave, and through this grievance you are requesting a reversal of this policy of discrimination in order to avoid the necessity of bringing a tribunal claim.

baffledmum Tue 12-Feb-13 12:43:17

I can confirm that Flowery's advice is correct. I have recently taken on responsibility for a salary exchange scheme and this is not a grey area of the law at all. Indeed, if you receive other benefits e.g. PMI cover for your family then your employer needs to be meeting the cost of all of those.

My employer used to be confused about this too, it isn't any longer.

The pension is slightly different but largely comes down to whether your employer classes it as a cash or a non-cash benefit.

Pootle78 Tue 12-Feb-13 19:09:03

Thanks, I have spent the afternoon writing my grievance so will lodge it tomorrow!

baffledmum Tue 12-Feb-13 20:49:22

Good luck Pootle78.

Can I ask - do you make your pension contributions through your salary sacrifice scheme too? If so under salary sacrifice all contributions are classed as employer contributions and therefore, once any enhanced occ mat pay has been exhausted (your employer can deduct from that) your employer should make both your contributions and the employer contributions for the duration of your mat leave.

Pootle78 Wed 13-Feb-13 00:31:35

I don't think so baffled - my tax rebate each month covers my pension contribution and last time I was on mat leave I paid the contribution back once I returned to cover the 3 months of 0 pay.

Ive also realised that they shouldn't have deducted my ccv from my 90% SMP at beginning of mat leave, I'll keep that one in the bag for now!

Thanks for your help!

Pootle78 Wed 13-Feb-13 14:01:23

It's gone! confused

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