It may not look much like spring out there, with snow, ice and falling temperatures, however, British Summer Time officially begins on Sunday (March 31), bringing longer, lighter days and the perfect time for children to start taking part in before and after school activities again.
Over the winter, many clubs and groups without all-weather facilities may be suspended due to insufficient daylight or bad weather and working parents are often forced to arrange alternative childcare during the darker months.
With the clocks springing forward an hour, and temperatures sure to finally rise, there will be plenty of time to squeeze in new clubs or activities in the sunshine – giving children that all important fresh air until mum or dad has left work for the day.
Parents may think they can’t afford the football club or tennis lessons at school or to send their child to activity camp over the half term holiday, for example, but with childcare vouchers, they could be more reasonable than they think.
Many working parents use childcare vouchers to help fund registered childcare for the under-fives but less well known is the fact that they can also be used for school-age children to pay for out of school clubs and activity camps.
John Woodward, managing director of Busy Bees Benefits said: “As long as parents check before they book that the activity organiser accepts childcare vouchers as payment, they can give their child the opportunity to enjoy a host of fun and educational activities now that the days are longer and lighter.”
“What’s more, childcare vouchers can be saved up throughout the year and used to pay for holiday childcare and activity costs, so even if you don’t need childcare during term-time, you can still reap the financial benefits that they can offer.”
How can parents access childcare vouchers and how do they work?
- Childcare vouchers are available to working parents via their employer. Childcare vouchers are a benefit so parents must ask their employer to provide them. The employer will save money too, so it’s worth them offering the scheme as part of their benefits package.
- Once the employer agrees to provide childcare vouchers, the parent simply registers on the scheme, stating how much they would like to deduct from their wages each pay day in return for the vouchers.
- Parents can currently exchange up to £243* per month.
- The amount exchanged for vouchers is deducted from the employee’s wages and no tax and National Insurance is taken. Parents then pay their childcare provider with the vouchers. Taking childcare vouchers, means that parents can save up to £933* per year in tax and National Insurance savings.
- Childcare vouchers can be used to pay for any registered childcare provider for children up to the age of 16.
For more information about how you can start saving using Childcare Vouchers visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.
· *Basic Rate tax payers, subject to individual circumstances.