How does the care-4 scheme benefit my family?

care-4 allows you to make considerable savings on your childcare payments, through tax and National Insurance savings worth up to £933 per employee per annum. Use the care-4 Calculator for an illustration of the savings you can make.

Will there be any effect on my state benefits?

Participation in a Salary Reduction scheme may impact upon your entitlement to certain state benefits. In particular, you may be worse off joining the scheme if you receive the childcare element of Working Tax Credits. To calculate whether you will be better off with care-4 or Childcare Tax Credits, compare the savings that you could make using the care-4 Calculator and the Working Tax Credits website.

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, however, you have joined the scheme as part of a flexible benefits scheme package, your payslip will reflect the total amount of salary reduction in respect of your flexible benefits.

How do I join the scheme?

When your employer sets up the scheme, communication and registration details will be provided to advise you how to join. Simply register using the care-4 website and a welcome pack will be sent to you confirming your registration details and we will also contact your nominated Carer(s).

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 be valid until the new tax year. For employees who joined the scheme before 6th April 2011, this will not apply and you will be eligible to save tax and NI on £243 per month unless you have a break from the scheme for more than 12 months or change employer, when the new limits will be applied.

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

You can register for the scheme, subject to your company scheme rules. You should be sure that you are going to use a Registered or Approved carer in future, as any funds paid into the scheme must be used to pay this type of carer and cannot be refunded into cash. If you do not have a confirmed childcare place, you can still register using care-4's temporary carer account.

How long does the agreement last?

On signing the contract you commit to a minimum period of 12 months in the scheme.  Depending on your employer’s scheme rules there may be an opportunity to change the extent of your participation subject to a specific lifestyle event as details above. Details of the events that qualify would be provided in the rules set by your employer.

Can I cancel the agreement at any time?

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

What happens if I leave my Employer?

You need to advise both your employer and care-4 immediately if you decide to leave. Any further payments to your care-4 account will cease and any monies remaining can continue to be used to authorise payments to your pre-registered carers. If you have elected the care-4 scheme as part of a flexible benefit, you must advise your flex administrator to immediately cease future payments.

Can I choose my own carer(s)?

Yes, providing they are Registered or Approved with the appropriate body.

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. Please note that spouses / partners or parents of the child to be cared for cannot be paid via care-4 irrespective of whether they look after other children alongside their own.

Can I change my nominated childcare provider(s)?

Yes you can register new carers throughout the year. We will write to your carer requesting details of their eligibility and bank account details and you should therefore take into account a timeframe to enable your carer to return the details, when arranging payment.

What other benefits are there to joining the scheme?

As a care-4 participant you have access to a confidential childcare helpline. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and provides parental support on every aspect of your child’s well being from weaning through to bullying. If you are looking to change your childcare arrangements you can request information on new childcare options through the care-4 helpline,  in addition, you can also request information on emergency childcare arrangements.

Emergency Childcare
We are aware that there are times when you need alternative emergency care arrangements to the childcare arrangements that you normally pay for through the care-4 scheme. Through Emergency Childcare, you can search for nursery spaces and book places for as early as the next day, or at any time up to 3 weeks in advance and pay for the booking though your care-4 account. You can also talk to an agent by telephoning care-4 and selecting the Emergency Childcare helpline.

There are a range of discounts available to you to enable you to make further savings on your childcare costs. Please click here for more details.