Employers including children’s charity Barnardo’s and manufacturer Kettle Foods have given their backing to the #savechildcarevouchers campaign, which calls for the scheme to be kept open alongside Tax-Free Childcare (TFC).
The childcare voucher scheme is due to close to new parents on 4 October - six months later than originally planned. However, parents who are already receiving vouchers will continue to do so as long as they stay with the same employer.
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Representing around 45,000 members of staff, the 75 organisations that have signed a pledge to keep the scheme open indefinitely, say the closure of childcare vouchers risks undermining employee engagement.
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said, ‘Barnardo’s employs over 8,000 people. As part of our package of benefits to help families, we offer childcare vouchers to all staff, which we believe is pro-family and supportive to our staff with young children in managing their work-life balance.
‘Barnardo’s believes parents should have a choice in which scheme they wish to use.’
A spokesperson for Kettle Foods added, ‘Kettle Foods is proud to be one of the thousands of businesses that offers childcare vouchers. The scheme helps many of our working parents to maintain a healthy work-life balance and is one of the most popular employee benefits we offer.’
According to the Childcare Vouchers Providers Association (CVPA), which is behind the campaign, currently over 780,000 parents use childcare vouchers. They claim that the closure of the scheme will affect thousands more working parents, including parents to be.
Jacquie Mills, chair of the CVPA, said, ‘Employers across the country want the childcare voucher scheme to remain open because the families they employ would struggle to manage work and home life without it.
‘It is vital for businesses’ recruitment and retention - working parents consistently favour employers who understand and support their childcare needs.
‘We’re calling on the government to #SaveChildcareVouchers so working parents can keep doing what they do best with the childcare support that suits them.’
Business and charities in support of the campaign include:
- Kettle Foods
- Yoplait UK Limited
- Frome Town Council
- Nexus Vehicle Rental
- Stars Foundation (a charity that works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children);
- Telford Homes Plc
- The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers.
An HMRC spokesperson said, 'Tax-Free Childcare is available to working parents regardless of where they work and includes the self-employed, making it fairer and more accessible than vouchers – which are only offered by some employers.
"It will provide support to nearly 1 million more families compared to the number currently using vouchers. It’s also paid per child rather than per parent, so lone parents can access the same support as couples, and parents get more support as their childcare costs rise.
'Parents who are already getting vouchers can continue to do so, as long as they stay with the same employer and they continue to run the scheme'.
- For more information on the campaign click here