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Childcare voucher scheme: advice for employers

Childcare Voucher Advice

The childcare voucher scheme is only open to new entrants for another year and for employers, this means maximising on National Insurance savings whilst the scheme is still in place.

However, Busy Bee Benefits has already come across issues that companies are facing when dealing with their providers and has provided advice to firms struggling to make these much-needed final year savings.  

Emails going unanswered
It is not uncommon to receive an automatic reply from your provider when you send an email enquiry, but if your email isn’t answered within the time frame they provide, there is something going wrong. It is a very basic requirement that your enquiry is treated with the level of urgency it needs. If your emails aren’t being answered or if your provider takes longer than they promise to get back to you, it might be the right time to consider your options.

Taking over two weeks to set up a new account
As an experienced provider of Childcare Vouchers, we can tell you that setting up a new account does not take two weeks. If you’ve requested a new account to be set up, make sure that it is done as soon as possible to ensure your employees have enough time to set up their voucher order.

Preventing NI savings by charging a flat fee
The Childcare Voucher scheme should benefit both employer and employee. If your voucher provider is charging a flat fee rather than taking a small cut of your NI savings, the benefit to your business could end up substantially lower. A provider should only make money when your business does, so if you find that you’re being charged a fee when no one in the business has used the scheme, your provider probably doesn’t have the interests of your business at heart.

Holding onto voucher monies for up to a week before releasing vouchers
If an employee can’t use their voucher as soon as the money has been sacrificed there is a problem. Whether the waiting period is three days or five days, an employee that has to wait to pay a childcare provider is inconvenienced. Be sure that the scheme you’re providing isn’t doing more harm than good.

Not providing a Basic Earnings Assessment
The provision of the Basic Earnings Assessment greatly reduces the administrative burden on employers. From the information given, the Busy Bees Benefits system calculates employees’ childcare voucher entitlement, minimum wage checks and stores the information in readiness for annual audits. If your provider asks your employee to fill out an excel spreadsheet and send it back, there may be reason for concern.

Other issues confessed by companies operating schemes through poor providers include changing charging structures, high levels of administration and hidden cancellation fees when an employee terminates their order.

If you’re experiencing any of the common issues reported by Busy Bees Benefits, or if your provider has measures in place that are stopping you from receiving you final year’s full savings, it might be time to consider switching providers.

Busy Bees Benefits offers a wide range of employee benefits including; Childcare Vouchers, Mobile Phones, Cycle to Work, Retail Discounts, Employee Assistance Programme, Emergency Childcare, Car Leasing, Car Care, Will Writing, Earn and Learn, Workplace Parking and Employment Law.

For more information, see their website.

Sophie MacIntyre

Tuesday, 16 February 2016 at 5:54pm

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