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 you know, care-4, as part of the employer supported legislation, closed to new entrants on 4th October 2018. Since its closure, the CVPA have been overwhelmed with messages from parents and employers alike, many of whom have missed out on the vital support offered through these schemes.

That’s why today, the CVPA have launched a survey to understand the impact the closure has had on parents, employers, and childcare providers – so it would be great if the CVPA can hear your views and put them forward to government.  

To take part, click on the survey link that applies to you:- Employer, Parent (current user), Parent (not able to join/rejoin), Carer – it will take less than 5 minutes to complete and all responses will be kept anonymous.

If the scheme’s closure has affected you and you’d be willing to share your experience as a case study, you can get in touch with the CVPA by emailing cvpa@wacomms.co.uk, with the subject line Childcare Vouchers – my story. Your experience can be anonymised if you prefer.

Thanks for your ongoing support.

The care-4 Team