|Budget Update - Government Childcare Plans - Friday, March 22, 2013|
In the Budget, the Government announced their plans to make changes to childcare support for working parents from Autumn 2015, with their intention to protect and continue the existing Employer Supported scheme beyond this time.
The plan is to introduce a 20% subsidy on childcare costs, for families where both parents are working. The subsidy is available per child, initially for up to age 5 with plans to extend to age 12. The subsidy will not be provided by employers.
Parents already using care-4 through their employer can continue to save on childcare costs through their current scheme after this new scheme starts.
There will be a consultation period to discuss these new plans and we will provide a further update when this consultation period commences. In the meantime further information can be found here.
|Introducing care-4 on the go - Wednesday, January 30, 2013|
We are pleased to announce the introduction of a mobile version of the care-4 website designed specifically for smartphones and tablets.
You now have a further method of accessing your care-4 account, whilst on the go. The mobile version enables you to easily check your payment history and make payments to your carer. Carers are able to check payments made to them.
When accessing the care-4 site using a smartphone or tablet, you will be automatically directed to the new mobile version of the website, however you still have the option to switch to the full standard website if you prefer.
We welcome your feedback regarding this new feature, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your views.
|Enhanced Helpline Opening Hours - Friday, January 04, 2013|
Following analysis of the calls we receive to our helpline, we have amended our open hours to ensure we are open when most people would like to be able to speak to us.
As such, our helpline is now open from 8am - 6pm Monday to Friday (rather than from 9am), and closed on Saturdays.
You will continue to have access to the care-4 automated telephone service, confidential Childcare Helpline and website 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
|Change to National Minimum Wage - Thursday, September 27, 2012|
From 1st October the Adult National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate will increase from £6.08 to £6.19 an hour.
The new rates are:
- £6.19 per hour for workers aged 21 and over - a rise of 11p
- £4.98 per hour for 18-20 year olds - no change
- £3.68 per hour for workers above school leaving age but under 18 - no change
- £2.65 per hour for apprentices - a rise of 5p
Please click here for more information.
Employees that are close to the new NMW pay receive a lesser value of Childcare Vouchers from October onwards as salary cannot be reduced to below NMW.
|Early roll-out of free early education places for two-year-olds - Sunday, January 01, 2012|
You may be aware that currently all three- and four-year-olds are eligible for 15 hours of free early education per week. The Deputy Prime Minister has announced a series of changes to free childcare places, including rolling out nearly 1000 free pre-school education places for two-year-olds from disadvanted areas from September 2012.
- 10 areas to trial free pre-school education for two-year-olds from September 2012
- Greater flexibility for parents - the hours in which places (including existing places for 3- and 4-year-olds) can be used will be extended to between 7am and 7pm
- Giving parent the option to spread free places over two days rather than three
- Revised statutory guidance to confirm parents do not have to pay to access free places
For more information please click here.
|Goodbye to NCMA Childcare Places - Thursday, December 22, 2011|
We regret to advise you that with effect from 15th January 2012, you will no longer be able to search for registered NCMA childminder vacancies through the Childcare Places website.
Please contact us if you would like support in searching for new childcare.
|Childcare Voucher Providers Association - Tuesday, May 10, 2011|
Grass Roots is a founder member of the newly-launched Childcare Voucher Providers Association.The principles of the association are to establish and develop best practice for the childcare voucher sector (including service, security of voucher funds and data management); to act as ombudsman for any unresolved complaints against members; to positively promote the sector and inform buyers of their rightful expectations; to inform and influence government policy; and to actively engage with HMRC and regulatory bodies as a collective body.
The CVPA has launched with 6 member companies, each of which has passed an industry audit. The audit process will be repeated on an annual basis as a condition of ongoing membership.
|Tax Changes to Childcare Vouchers Looming - Deadline 5th April 2011 - Thursday, March 24, 2011|
The Government is reducing the level of tax exemption for higher or additional tax payers that join the scheme after 5th April 2011.
If you are a higher or additonal rate tax payer that is eligible to join the scheme to pay for registered or approved childcare now or in the future, provided your first child has been born, you may wish to consider joining the scheme before the 5th April in order to take advantage of the higher tax exemption threshold.
Please note that your employer may apply an earlier deadline in order for you to be eligible for the higher savings so you should check your specific scheme rules.
|Important News: HMRC Changes to Childcare Schemes - Tuesday, November 09, 2010|
In December last year, the Government confirmed that instead of withdrawing Employer Supported Childcare, they would retain the tax relief at the basic rate of tax only from April 2011. This change is being introduced to ensure that the tax savings available to employees are similar, regardless of the rate at which they pay tax.
HMRC has now provided technical guidance on how this change to the legislation should be implemented, full details of which can be found at: - http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/thelibrary/esc-qa.htm.
Please find detailed below, a summary of the key points:
Who is affected by the change?
The changes will only affect higher rate tax payers that join the scheme on or after 6th April 2011. Employees already in the care-4 scheme on or before 5th April 2011 are not affected unless they leave the scheme or their employment, and their existing entitlement will continue through annual renewals.
What value of childcare costs will high rate tax payers save on from 6th April 2011?
New joiners to the care-4 scheme that pay a high rate of tax can save tax and NI on childcare costs of up to £124 per month (£28 per week). Additional rate tax payers can save tax and NI on childcare costs of up to £97 per month (£22 per week).
For participants in the care-4 scheme on 5th April 2011. All employees that are eligible to participate in care-4 and have completed their registration for the scheme prior to 5th April 2011 will be able to continue to benefit from tax and NI exemption on up to £243 per month (£55 per week) childcare costs regardless of the rate at which they pay tax.
For employees that have joined the scheme prior to 5th April 2011 that temporarily leave the scheme for a period of less than 12 months. These employees can continue to benefit from tax and NI exemption on up to £243 per month (£55 per week) childcare costs regardless of the rate at which they pay tax.
For basic rate tax payers. Basic rate tax payers will continue to receive tax and NI exemption on up to £243 of childcare costs paid through the scheme, regardless of when they join the scheme.
The care-4 team at Grass Roots
|Your information is always safe with us - we are now ISO27001 accredited! - Thursday, July 01, 2010|
We are committed to providing our clients, and their employees, the best service available.
As part of our commitment to providing the highest level of service to our clients, we operate a Quality Management System that complies with the requirements of BS EN ISO 9001:2008.
As our much of our work involves holding and managing sensitive data on behalf of our clients, we are also proud to be accredited with ISO 27001, the industry standard in Information Security. We have always prided ourselves on robust processes and gaining this accreditation is a further sign of our commitment to maintaining the highest possible standards where our clients' employee data is concerned.
|The NEW care-4 telephone number is 0844 800 1444 - Wednesday, April 21, 2010|
The care-4 telephone number has changed from 0870 870 4114 to 0844 800 1444. Both numbers are currently available, but please note the new number for future use so you are always able to contact us if you need to.
|Gordon Brown’s Proposed Changes to Employer Provided Childcare Vouchers - Thursday, December 03, 2009|
At Gordon Brown's Labour Party Conference earlier in the year, he expressed his intention to remove the tax and NI exemption on Employer Provided Childcare in the next Parliament.
On 3rd December, the Government confirmed that it has revised its plans. The change in policy was confirmed in a letter sent to the joint chairs of the Parliamentary Labour Party’s Women’s Committee, Fiona McTaggart MP and Roberta Blackman-Woods MP.
Instead of withdrawing the tax relief to all new entrants from April 2011, the Government proposes to retain it at the basic rate of tax only. This means that all current participants, including higher rate tax payers, will be able to continue to benefit from the tax advantages and save up to £900 per year on their childcare costs.
During the Save Childcare Vouchers campaign, which we were strongly in support of, there was a surge of public concern about the proposals. Over 92,000 people signed a petition on the No 10 Downing Street website calling for childcare vouchers to be saved. The campaign to Save Childcare Vouchers attracted cross-party political support, and was endorsed by a range of campaigning organisations from across the work-life balance and children’s sectors. More information is available at www.savechildcarevouchers.org.uk.
|Gordon Brown expresses intentions to remove Childcare Vouchers - Wednesday, November 11, 2009|
At Gordon Brown's recent Labour Party Conference, he expressed his intention to remove the tax and NIC exemption on Employer Provided Childcare in the next Parliament, to pay for an extension of free childcare to 250,000 two-year olds. His plans include the following changes:
• From April 2011, employer provided childcare vouchers will not be available to Employers nor participants that are not currently using a scheme such as care-4.
• Existing participants of the care-4 scheme can remain and made savings through the tax and NICs exemptions until April 2015.
We believe that the Government should continue to offer tax and National insurance exemptions on Childcare vouchers and are in the process of lobbying to this effect. If you are an employer, parent or carer that would like to support our campaign, further details can be found on the Save Childcare Vouchers campaign website www.savechildcarevouchers.org.uk. You can also sign the petition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/keepvouchers/
Please note that at this stage, a definite decision has not been made by the Government, further information is expected in the Pre-Budget Report due in late November 2009.