Thursday, 28 June 2012

Survey Says Employers Should Do More To Help With Childcare Costs


The cost of childcare is currently a hot topic, causing much debate and regularly making the headlines. The Government has now launched a Commission to look at the issue and the latest survey on this topic found that 47% of parents agreed that employers should do more to help meet childcare costs. 20% of parents responding to the survey have turned down jobs because they couldn't afford to pay for childcare.  38% of parents have even considered quitting their current job and 12% have actually left their job because of childcare costs.

Offering childcare vouchers to employees is one way employers can help.  Employees simply exchange part of their salary (up to £55 per week) for childcare vouchers, which are non-taxable and National Insurance exempt. This saves up to £933 per employee, per year on the cost of childcare.

However, the cap has not been changed to meet increasing costs since 2006. Hence BusyBees Benefits is already leading the way to improve life for working parents by actively campaigning to make childcare more affordable.  The ‘Mind the Gap – Raise the Cap’ campaign aims to persuade the government to increase the weekly childcare voucher cap allowance from £55 to £75. 

The e-petition at the centre of the Busy Bees campaign already has almost 9000 signatures. The aim is to get 100,000 signatures to see the cap increased in line with the 2013 Budget.  The e-petition can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31669

Increasing the cap could save each parent in the scheme over £300 extra per year.  Not only will offering childcare vouchers attract and retain skilled staff, employers will also make savings as childcare vouchers do not attract employer National Insurance contributions.  Employers can currently save more than £400** per employee.

John Woodward, Busy Bees Group CEO said:
“It is clear that parents want to work and access affordable childcare without having to compromise on quality. Childcare vouchers are a simple and established scheme which already helps thousands of parents.  The scheme just needs to be improved to close the gap which has opened up between costs and childcare voucher values. It is in the interest of employers to offer a childcare voucher scheme to working parents who have valuable skills.  “Mindthe Gap – Raise the Cap” will help parents to work and pay for the childcare they would like for their children.  Employers will also benefit: by offering childcare vouchers they will be able to save up to £550 per employee, per year*.”

For more information about the campaign visit www.busybeesbenefits.com

Notes
* For basic rate tax payers and before service charge for operating the scheme. Service charges applied by Bees Bees Benefits are always less than employer National Insurance contributions.
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Monday, 25 June 2012

Use Childcare Vouchers To Pay For Summer Holiday Schemes




The summer holidays are fast approaching; many parents find the forthcoming six weeks a stressful and expensive time.  Parents need to consider how much time they can have off work, what childcare is available and how much childcare and holiday activities will cost.

There are a wide range of childcare options available for the summer holidays, for children of all ages.  There are summer camps, holiday schemes, play groups, child minders, nurseries and out of school clubs. 

All of these are fun and exciting; children can experience activities they would not usually experience.  Sending children to summer camps and holiday schemes will help to encourage children to engage and experience working in groups with new children, take part in events and shows and encourage them to explore and discover new skills.

Knowing there is suitable childcare options will give parents the peace of mind they need when considering summer holiday childcare. However, the cost of sending children to camps and holiday schemes is an important factor.  Did you know you can use your childcare vouchers, taken as a salary sacrifice via your employer, to pay for the cost of most summer childcare options?  Parents can exchange up to £243 per month, which is non-taxable and national insurance exempt, from their salary.  They will then receive childcare vouchers to use to pay for their chosen childcare.

Using childcare vouchers can save working parents up to £933 per year from the cost of their childcare.  Both parents can join a childcare voucher scheme, increasing potential savings to over £1800 per year.  Be money savvy; if you intend to send your child to a camp or holiday scheme in the following year, you can save up childcare vouchers to pay for the costs.

Do you want to save more?

Busy Bees are campaigning to raise the weekly childcare voucher cap from £55 to £75 per week to help parents save more on the cost of their childcare.  Raising the cap will increase savings per parent to over £1200 per year.  If you want to save more sign the Busy Bees e-petition to help persuade the government to increase the cap.


For more information please visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.

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