FAQS

Parents

Will there be any effect on my state benefits?

Participation may impact upon your entitlement to certain state benefits, for example, you may be worse off joining the scheme if you receive the childcare element of Working Tax Credits.

What will I see on my payslip?

If you have signed up for care-4 you will see your revised salary and details of the care-4 benefit as a separate non-payable amount on your payslip. If you have joined the scheme as part of a flexible benefits scheme package, your payslip will show the total amount of salary reduction for your flexible benefits.

How will my employer decide what my tax and NI exempt level is?

Your employer will undertake a Basic Earnings Assessment (BEA) when you join, and annually at the start of each tax year to determine the minimum level at which you save tax and NI on this benefit. The value assessed will be valid until the new tax year.

Can I join care-4 before I know who my carer is?

Yes, subject to your company scheme rules, as long as you can be sure that you’ll be using a Registered or Approved carer.

Can I cancel the agreement at any time?

Membership into the scheme is normally for 12 months, so check your employer's scheme rules. You can cancel at the end of the minimum period or subject to a specific lifestyle event, as detailed above.

What happens if I leave my employer?

You need to tell your employer and care-4 immediately if you decide to leave. Payments to your care-4 account will stop, and you can use remaining funds to authorise payments to your pre-registered carers.

Can I choose my own carer(s)?

Yes, providing they are Registered or Approved with the appropriate body. The Family and Childcare Trust offers a search facility for Ofsted-approved childcare across local authority boundaries.

Can I use the scheme to pay relatives?

No, unless the relative is a Registered Childminder and also cares for other children as well as your own. Spouses / partners or parents of the child for cannot be paid via care-4, even if they look after other children as well as their own.

What does being a Registered or Approved carer mean?

Registered childcare includes:

  • registered childminders, nurseries and play schemes
  • out-of-hours clubs on school premises run by a school or local authority
  • childcare schemes run by school governing bodies under the extended schools scheme
  • childcare schemes run by approved providers, for example, an out of school hours scheme or a provider approved under a Ministry of Defence accreditation scheme

A Registered childminder, nursery or childcare scheme is one that is registered:

  • in England, by Ofsted or the National Care Standards Commission
  • in Wales, by the National Assembly for Wales (through the Care Standards Inspectorate for Wales)
  • in Scotland, with the Scottish Care Commission, and in Northern Ireland, by a Health and Social Services Trust

Approved childcare includes:

  • Nannies or au pairs
  • Carers who are not legally required to register in order to care for children
Can I change my nominated childcare provider(s)?

Yes, you can register a new carer at any time – please allow time for us to contact them to confirm eligibility and bank account details and get them set up with care-4 before you can arrange payment.

Who authorises Registered or Approved childcare providers?
 

As a result of the developing situation with regards to the current Covid-19 outbreak and, in particular, the recent government announcement regarding school closures, we wanted to provide you with some further information to help you make an informed choice regarding your care-4 participation.
 
Should I continue paying into my account if I'm now spending less on childcare?
Whilst we acknowledge that the current situation is very uncertain, if you are likely to require childcare in the future, we recommend that you continue with your salary deductions (remembering that you can choose to reduce the value temporarily if required).
 
Can I reduce my monthly salary deduction temporarily?
Yes – this can be done either via your online care-4 account or, if your employer operates a Flexible Benefits scheme, through your Benefits Provider platform. The value can subsequently be increased as and when required.
 
What are my options if I have been furloughed?
Whilst initially, guidance seemed to suggest that employees could continue to have deductions from gross salary whilst on furlough, a more recent update means that salary sacrifice cannot be taken from the pay an employee receives through the furlough grant. However, employers can choose to pay these benefits in addition to wages paid under the Job Retention Scheme.

Depending on the arrangements your employer has in place, this might mean that furloughed participants would need to pause their salary sacrifice arrangements until their normal contract is resumed. As Covid-19 is being classed as a life event it is entirely acceptable for individuals to make temporary changes to their salary sacrifice arrangements as a result.

If you have been furloughed you should discuss your options with your employer, as any payment of childcare vouchers during the period of Furlough would be dependent on their own specific arrangements.

If I leave the scheme can I re-join?
Yes, you can choose to temporarily leave the scheme (i.e. pause your salary deductions) but please be aware that in line with new Tax Free Childcare regulations, you must ensure that you restart deductions within 12 months - if you fail to do so then unfortunately you will be unable to re-join the scheme.
 
Can I withdraw my funds?
Due to HMRC regulations which your employer must adhere to, you are unable to convert any excess balance in your account to cash by way of a refund. Instead, accrued funds will remain in your secure care-4 account for use in payment to eligible carers at a later date.
 
Are the funds in my account safe?
Yes. All funds received from our clients in respect of childcare payments are deposited and held in specifically designated bank accounts which are used solely for the purpose of handling care-4 client funds. The operational procedures we have in place illustrate that all such funds are client monies. 
 
Should you require further assistance please contact us either via email at: info@care-4.co.uk or by calling our helpline on 0344 800 1444.