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: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our helpline on 0344 800 1444.