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'Saving' Childcare vouchers during maternity leave

(5 Posts)
Dysgu Tue 23-Oct-12 21:00:06

I am 14 weeks pregnant with DC3. DP and I both take the maximum amount of £243 pcm in childcare vouchers from our employers. We then top up the CM as childcare costs more than £486pcm.

DC3 is due in April 2013. As a teacher, I plan on not using childcare from the end of March 2013 (Easter holidays) until the January 2014. From then we expect to use childcare again - not sure whether full-time or part-time; possibly with the same CM but maybe not...

DP's employer provides childcare vouchers that 'sit' in an online account and he arranges the transfer to CM - is set up for 12 months but he can easily change it. We plan for him to continue to claim the £243 and for these to be 'saved' to give us a bit of a cushion when we start using childcare again (and to decrease the monthly 'cash' bit of the bill for a while.

My employer transfers the £243 directly to my CM. There doesn't seem to be a 'storage point'.

I know I am entitled to continue to claim/receive the full £243 even when I am on SMP (I can't recall exact maternity benefits from DC2 and have not officially told my employer yet to receive current package), but is there any way I can 'store/save' my vouchers during my maternity leave?

If not, would I benefit from coming out of the scheme - is there still time before qualifying period - so that my OMP is enhanced?

DC2 arrived in December 2008 - my employer wrote to me on that occasion to tell me that my childcare vouchers would stop. Obviously, the law changed just before then but I didn't know... now I do... but want to be ready if it happens again so I come off best! (Is local authority so not taking extra money from a small employer - just the tax payer!)

InMySpareTime Wed 24-Oct-12 07:40:46

You can save CCVs to use later (and you will need them with 2DCs)
We use ours to pay for PGL camps for the DCs in the holidays.
Also consider, if you stop the vouchers, will you be able to restart them at the full £243pcm once you're back at work, or will the government have put in legislation to reduce the amount/stop "new" CCV registrations?

cogitosum Thu 25-Oct-12 13:42:53

You have the same rights as you would if you were at work... so if you can save the vouchers whilst you are at work you can save them whilst you are on maternity leave. If you aren't able to save them whilst your at work then it'd be the same on maternity leave. Does your employer use a provider or do they do it themselves? They're not allowed to just pay the childminder directly.

Your not taking money from anyone you have a legal right to receive the benefits on maternity leave that you do when you're at work.... the only thing that changes on maternity leave is that you're not receiving a salary (so it's not 'funded' by the reduction in salary in the same way) ... so don't feel guilty smile

Are you generally able to come in and out of the scheme or can you only make a change once a year? Again you can't be treated differently because of your impending maternity leave, so you could leave during the qualifying weeks and then rejoin to get the vouchers during maternity leave (but only if you could normally make changes as often as required).

If you get additional maternity pay over SMP this can be based on the reduced salary after the salary sacrifice so may be lower even if you are not on the scheme during the qualifying weeks (this depends on how the additional maternity pay is defined in your contract).

MrAnchovy Thu 25-Oct-12 15:37:18

"My employer transfers the £243 directly to my CM. There doesn't seem to be a 'storage point'."

That is unusual, particularly for a Local Authority. But in can happen in two cases:
1. The employer has contracted directly with the CM to provide you with childcare: it doesn't sound like this is the case.
2. The employer is providing vouchers itself rather than using a third party provider, so there is a 'storage point' but it is internal to the employer.

You need to ask your employer - or perhaps it is covered in the documentation you have about the voucher scheme?

The law changed in October 2008 so yes you should have been entitled before.

Dysgu Thu 25-Oct-12 23:16:07

Thank you for the feedback.

I think the easiest thing will be to call the person at the LA and ask her.

We will have 3DC to pay for once I go back to work so it would be really useful to be able to store my vouchers as well as DP's as we are looking at a 4-figure sum for monthly childcare and it would be nice to have something saved up to bring that down.

Paying for PGL holiday camps sounds fun but I think we are few years away from that - DDs are currently only 6 and 3 and they like having the holidays with me as I don't work then so we don't use childcare - but do pay a retainer.

I can go in and out of the scheme and make changes at any time according to the documentation we have from 2009 when I rejoined after my last maternity leave.

Thank you again, at least now I know what questions I need to ask.

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