Thursday, 30 May 2013

Plan Now for a Stress-free Summer



After a long winter, the temperature is warming up and summer is just around the corner.

If you’re a working parent, you’ll know that while summer brings sunshine (sometimes!), picnics and fun days, it also brings the headache of paying for additional childcare on the days you are at work.

Many parents find the long summer school holidays a stressful and expensive time. Planning ahead is vital, taking into consideration how much time you can take off work, the range of childcare available and how much it will cost.

There are many childcare options available for the summer holidays, for children of all ages, including summer camps, holiday schemes, play schemes, child minders and nurseries. All of these can provide great learning experiences and lots of fun for kids, where they can make new friends and acquire new skills.

Working parents can use Childcare Vouchers, taken as a salary sacrifice via employers, to pay for the cost of most summer childcare options.  Parents can exchange up to £243* per month from their salary for a voucher, which is non-taxable and national insurance exempt, bringing annual savings of up to £933*.  Both parents can join a Childcare Voucher scheme, increasing potential savings to over £1800* per year.

If you’re booking summer holiday activities now, ask your employer if they have or will set up a Childcare Voucher scheme and also check that the childcareprovider accepts vouchers as payment.  Remember, Childcare Vouchers aren’t just for small children – they can be used up to the 1st September after your child’s 15th birthday (or 16 if they are disabled).

John Woodward, MD at Busy Bees Benefits said: “Even if you don’t use childcare regularly and only tend to use it during school holidays, it’s worth swapping a part of your salary for Childcare Vouchers each month because you can store them up through the year to make holiday childcare more affordable.”

Childcare Vouchers: a quick guide
  • 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 1st September after their 15th birthday, or up to the age of 16 if they are disabled.

For more information about how you can start saving using Childcare Vouchers visit www.busybeesbenefits.com.

*Basic Rate tax payers, subject to individual circumstances.

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