With the cost of childcare rising steadily, working parents need to investigate ways in which to meet the increased expenditure. A recent survey by the Daycare Trust charity shows that the average cost of nursery care in Britain for children under two increased by nearly six per cent last year. With the average cost of a part-time nursery place for a child under two now more than £100 a week or £5,000 a year, it’s a price hike that will quite simply be too much for many working families.
What’s more, the issue is set to escalate significantly over the next four years with a report from the Social Market Foundation suggesting that childcare costs will rise by an average of 13.5 percent by 2015/16. These above-inflation increases are bad news for families, heaping further pressure on their already stretched budgets.
Not surprisingly given these facts, over 90 per cent of parents surveyed on behalf of employee benefits experts Edenred and other industry stakeholders are concerned about the cost of childcare. Overall, nearly five per cent of respondents said they would be forced to leave work due to the cost of childcare if it wasn’t for the support offered by tax-free childcare vouchers. Childcare vouchers can be a vital source of support to working parents. Indeed, for some families, these vouchers offer a solution that saves nearly £1000 a year.
Childcare vouchers are usually offered via a salary sacrifice scheme which means they are taken from a parent’s pre tax salary and, depending on the rate of tax payer, are free from tax and National Insurance up to £243 a month. They can be used for children up to 15 years, or 16 years if disabled, and can be spent on a wide range of activities such as afterschool clubs, holiday clubs, breakfast clubs, as well as nurseries, childminders and nannies. The age range covered by the vouchers means that parents of older children can also benefit.
Laura Czapiewski, product manager at Edenred, comments:
“Any type and size of business can implement a childcare voucher scheme and it’s worthwhile for companies of all sizes, even if they have just one qualifying parent within the organisation. Parents should investigate if their place of work offers childcare vouchers as part of their employee benefits package.
“Likewise, businesses must communicate their benefit offer effectively to ensure staff are aware of what is available to them and how to make the most of them. As the UK’s leading provider of childcare voucher benefits, we work with businesses to aid their benefits communication so that parents are aware firstly that their company is offering the scheme, and then are informed about the scope of the scheme, particularly as parents of older children can also benefit.”
Edenred created the UK’s first childcare voucher scheme in 1989. As the UK’s leading provider of childcare voucher benefits, they offer a flexible and efficient service to employers, parents and childcare providers.
Edenred has a website dedicated to childcare vouchers explaining how they work, the benefits and where to use them. See: http://www.childcarevouchers.co.uk/Parents/Pages/default.aspx