HOW care-4 childcare benefit scheme WORKS

care-4 was the first electronic childcare voucher scheme in the UK and helps working parents to save money on childcare costs; it enables employers to provide a valuable employee benefit that supports their working parents; and allows carers to receive prompt payment for the childcare provided.

Employers

EMPLOYERS

HOW CARE-4 ELECTRONIC CHILDCARE VOUCHERS WORK FOR EMPLOYERS

ARE YOU CURRENTLY OFFERING CHILDCARE VOUCHERS AND LOOKING TO SWITCH TO A NEW PROVIDER?

Good news, if you already provide a scheme you can join care-4 at any time and move your existing participants seamlessly.

Once you have registered to offer childcare vouchers, any existing participant of your scheme can be moved to us and have the amount of pre-tax salary that they agreed to receive for childcare vouchers, paid into their care-4 account.

They can continue to save through the care-4 scheme until their child is 16 or they are no longer eligible.

Please Note: If you do not currently offer childcare vouchers to your employees, unfortunately, due to a change in Government legislation, care-4 is now closed to new joiners​.

A reminder of the savings available:- 
Up to £55 a week is exempt from income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NIC).

  • Employees can make a maximum monthly contribution of £243* to their care-4 account, saving up to £77.76 per month
  • You can offset care-4’s running costs – and often more – with your annual Employer NIC savings of up to £402* per participating employee

*The value of childcare costs available to employees free of tax and NI and free of employer NI depends on the rate at which they pay tax:

Basic rate taxpayers can contribute up to £243 per month
Higher rate taxpayers can contribute up to £124 per month
Additional rate taxpayers can contribute up to £110 per month
 

ADDED VALUE BENEFITS

care-4 participants also have access to:

  • a confidential 24/7 childcare helpline
  • an emergency childcare website, enabling parents to find quality emergency childcare (some of which can be paid for using their care-4 account)
  • childcare provider discounts (subject to availability)
SWITCHING IS EASY

If you wish to transfer from an existing provider, we can move your employees seamlessly from their existing provider.  Not a problem.

If you do not offer childcare vouchers to your employees already, we are sorry to advise you that due to a change in Government legislation, care-4 is now closed to new joiners.
 

SIMPLE AND EFFICIENT

With care-4 you’ll have a market-leading benefit that’s up there with the biggest and the best, whatever the size of your organisation: simplicity, excellent service, and a positive user experience for your working parents.
 
If you have 1 to 1,000 employees, you can easily manage your childcare voucher scheme through our user-friendly care-4 admin site (priced at £49 per participating employee per year).  You’ll have everything you need to quickly set up and run your scheme.  

If you have over a thousand employees, we will provide you with a fully managed service, from set-up and registration processes to communications materials that support the transition of your scheme from your existing provider. If you offer the scheme outside a flex arrangement we can manage salary sacrifice documentation and any reporting that you need. We can also provide you with additional services, such as payment top-ups, and access to our discounted voucher shop.

Our fee structure for  large employers is based on the size of your organisation, the number of participants transitioning and the volume of funds handled, so please get in touch with us and we’d be very happy to calculate pricing for you, and provide any other information you may need.

SECURELY HANDLING FUNDS AND DATA

We have a well-earned reputation for providing exceptional service to employers, employees and carers. We ’re founding members of the CVPA (Childcare Voucher Providers Association), and hold ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 Information Security accreditation.  

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Parents

PARENTS

HOW CARE-4 WORKS FOR EMPLOYEES

Although it’s known as a childcare voucher scheme, care-4 is actually run through an easy to use website, so you can access your account on-line, any time and anywhere.

WE ARE SORRY, BUT DUE TO GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION, CARE-4 IS NOW CLOSED TO NEW ENTRANTS

However, if you are already a care-4 participant, you can continue to save on your childcare costs until your child is 16 or you are no longer eligible.

In addition, if you already participate in a childcare voucher scheme offered by your employer through another provider, your employer can move its scheme and all the existing participants to care-4 at any time. 

  • You can pay in up to £243* to your care-4 account each month, saving up to £77.76* per month. 
  • You can access your care-4 account online at any time.
  • You can make payments to your nominated Registered or Approved carer via BACS

care-4 also provides you with access to:

  • a confidential 24/7 childcare helpline
  • an emergency childcare website, enabling you to find quality emergency childcare (some of which can be paid for using your care-4 account)
  • childcare provider discounts (subject to availability)

To work out how much you can save through care-4, use our calculator.

CALCULATOR

To see how much you could save, just fill in your estimated annual earnings and monthly childcare costs and click on the calculate button.

What are your estimated annual earnings?

What are your monthly childcare costs?


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APPROXIMATE ANNUAL

SAVINGS

COSTS

APPROXIMATE MONTHLY

SAVINGS

COSTS

These calculations are for illustration only, based on:
 
  • The information you provide
  • Our understanding of employer supported childcare legislation
  • An assumption that your hourly pay after salary sacrifice remains above the National Minimum Wage (NMW) / National Living Wage (NLW)

Your actual savings will depend upon your individual tax and National Insurance circumstances:

  • If your pay is close to the NMW/NLW you may not be able to save through the scheme.
  • Your personal allowance will reduce by £1.00 for every £2.00 earned over £100,000.
  • Earnings over £150,000 are subject to the additional tax rate of 45%.

You may be eligible for other childcare options from the Government. Visit www.childcarechoices.gov.uk and use their calculator to work out the best option for you. Remember to calculate the projected costs over the lifetime of your childcare needs and bear in mind that savings will vary depending on the age of your child.

*Depending on the rate at which you pay income tax:

Basic rate taxpayers can contribute up to £243 per month
Higher rate taxpayers can contribute up to £124 per month
Additional rate taxpayers can contribute up to £110 per month

ELIGIBILITY

You can join the scheme if you are already participating in a childcare voucher scheme offered by your employer through another provider and your employer moves  their scheme to us.  If they haven’t, you may want to send them our details, or complete the CONTACT US form.

You can use your care-4 account to pay for Registered or Approved childcare for children up until the end of the August after their fifteenth birthday; or if they have a disability, up until the end of the August after their sixteenth birthday. Full details of the type of care which is registered or approved can be found in the Parent Frequently Asked Questions

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Other questions? Call the care-4 helpline: 0344 800 1444 (Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm).
 

ADDED VALUE SERVICES FOR CARE-4 PARENTS

Confidential Childcare Helpline

Available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year to provide parental support on every aspect of your child’s wellbeing.


Access to Emergency Childcare

Free for the first 3 months of joining, then provided at a 20% discount on the standard £9.60 per month fee of £7.68 thereafter. You can book emergency childcare places for children for the next day or up to three weeks in advance. Registered childminders and nursery places can be booked through Emergency Childcare and paid by card.



Discounts
Carers

CARERS

HOW CARE-4 WORKS FOR CHILDCARE PROVIDERS

If you’re a Registered or Approved childcare provider looking after a child or the children of a care-4 member, register with us so that you can be their nominated carer and receive payments direct from their care-4 account via BACS.

  • Secure and reliable electronic payments direct to your bank
  • No voucher collection or paperwork to process
  • Online statements available
  • No time delays

CHILDCARE PAYMENTS

Once you’re registered with care-4, we’ll send you a secure log-in so that you can check the status of your payments and see any that are pending. If you give us your email address, we can also send you an email whenever a payment is made to you.

Payments authorised before 3pm on any working day will arrive in your nominated bank account two working days later via BACS.


DO YOU QUALIFY AS A REGISTERED OR APPROVED CHILD CARER?

You can be paid through the scheme if you are a registered or approved child carer.

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 that are not legally required to register in order to care for children

IMPORTANT CONDITIONS
  • You must ensure that your approval is renewed annually.
  • You cannot be paid through the scheme if you are the parent or legal guardian of the child for whom you are providing care.
  • You cannot be paid through the scheme for care provided if you are a relative of the child unless you are an eligible childcarer, you are not the parent or legal guardian, and you care for other children as well as those who are your relatives.

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Our Christmas & New Year Opening Hours for the helpline and payment processing times are:
HELPLINE:
Monday 17th December to Friday 21st December (inclusive): 9am-5pm
Monday 24th December: 9am to 2pm
Tuesday 25th to Wednesday 26th December: Closed
Thursday 27th December to Friday 28th December (inclusive): 9am-5pm
Monday 31st December: 9am to 2pm
Tuesday 1st January: Closed

 PAYMENT PROCESSING: 
Any carer payments made after 12pm on the following dates will be processed on the next working day:
Monday 24th December
Monday 31st December 
Any carer payments scheduled for Tuesday 25th or Wednesday 26th December will be processed on Thursday 27th December and
those scheduled for Tuesday 1st January 2019 will be processed on Wednesday 2nd January.
 Normal business hours will resume on Wednesday 2nd January 2019.
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