Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Employers Should Make Their Voices Heard on New Tax-free Childcare

Busy Bees Benefits, is encouraging businesses to have their say about the Government’s proposed Tax-free Childcare scheme.  The employee benefits provider conducted a survey of employers in July which demonstrated that there is currently a lack of awareness and understanding of the proposed scheme. From the autumn of 2015, working parents will be required to pay 80% of their child’s childcare costs and the Government will top it up with the remaining 20%.  This will apply to childcare costs of up to £6,000 per child, per year, saving working parents up to £1,200 per child, per year.





In Busy Bees Benefits’ survey, 70% of employers did not know that the scheme would only apply initially to children up to the age of 5 and eventually would be for children aged under 12 (eligibility for disabled children will be up to 16). The current Childcare Voucher scheme applies to all children up to the age of 16.A twelve-week consultation on the new scheme is asking for views on how it should be operated. Busy Bees Benefits is responding to the consultation in its own right and is working to get the best deal for employers who want to be involved. So, as with the current Childcare Voucher scheme, Busy Bees Benefits is asking the Government to ensure that if employers choose to continue to run a scheme for their employees, any administrative costs they pay on behalf of their staff are treated as a trivial benefit and will not require reporting on P11D submissions. Businesses who would like to avoid wading through the whole consultation document can give their views on the relevant section in Busy Bees Benefits’ survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HJFLXNZ



Employers who could benefit from NI savings of up to £402 per year for each employee on the current Childcare Voucher scheme, will not receive any savings under Tax-free Childcare. However, there are other intangible benefits for employers if they take a role in communicating to their employees and potential recruits about financial help with childcare. To help recruit the best candidate for a role, it is in employers’ interests to share information about the financial support available for parents. The same goes for providing information to those staff about to start maternity, paternity or adoption leave. These employees may think that returning to work is not an option for them, but with the support from Tax-free Childcare, it may make financial sense for them to do so.


To ensure that all working parents get as much support as possible with childcare costs, employers should offer a Childcare Voucher scheme now. More information can be found at http://www.busybeesbenefits.com/employers/scheme-information.php


Busy Bees Benefits takes the position that the level of support should be higher when the Tax-free Childcare scheme is launched, and that to continue to provide meaningful support, it will need to keep pace with rising costs. You can sign an epetition to support this proposal at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48405.


*Busy Bees Benefits employer survey on Tax-free Childcare received responses from 103 employers and was conducted from 17th July 2013.



Monday, 19 August 2013

Back to school – how can you maximise your savings?

As the summer holidays are coming to a close, it’s time to go shopping for new school uniform and begin preparing your children for the new school year.

The six week summer break can be costly. As a parent, you have to deal with time off work, holiday childcare and trips away which all put pressure on the family finances. So what can you do to reduce costs when your children return to school?  


Childcare Vouchers are available from your employer.  You can choose to have up to £243** deducted from your wages each month in return for a Childcare Voucher of the same value. Vouchers are deducted before tax and National insurance is calculated, saving you up to £933** per year.

It is a common misconception for working parents to believe that Childcare Vouchers can only be used to help fund registered childcare for children under five.  They can also be used for school-age children, up to the age of 16, to pay for out of school clubs and activity camps.


Your children can enjoy the provision of a wide range of activities and by using Childcare Vouchers; you can enjoy the benefits of the financial savings available.

Remember to check before booking childcare that the provider activity accepts Childcare Vouchers as payment.

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

**subject to individual circumstances 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Government gives a push on pedal power: The perfect time to start cycling to work

This week, the government has announced that it will be funding a £94 million pound initiative to support the promotion of cycling in England. Eight cities and four national parks across the country will share the benefits of improvements to existing cycle routes and the creation of new ones.
The introduction of new cycle networks will help to make cycling more accessible to all. Is it time for you to take to two wheels and make cycling part of your daily commute? By joining a cycle to work scheme, you can join those already on their bikes and save yourself money along the way.

Cycling to work instead of using the car can help you to avoid the costs of fuel and parking; you won’t get stuck in a traffic jam and if you currently use public transport it will save you the cost of ever-rising rail and bus fares. Alongside these benefits you will feel physically and mentally healthier. Cycling will also help you to cut greenhouse gases and do your bit for the environment.


Not got a bike?

Good quality bikes and equipment can be costly. The Cycle to Work Scheme is a voluntary benefit offered by employers.  Ask your employer to offer the Cycle to Work scheme to enable you to purchase new bicycles and equipment worth up to £1000 and save up to 50% off the retail price. If your employer doesn't already have a scheme in place, ask them if they will offer it.

Not only does the Cycle to Work employee benefit scheme save you money, it can also save your employer up to £138 per employee on the scheme. You simply pay for your bicycle and equipment over a 12 or 18-month period through your salary and at the same time save money on your tax and National Insurance contributions. After this period you can then pay the remaining balance to transfer the ownership of the bicycle and equipment, similar to a hire purchase but with tax savings.

Riding on the roads? 

The £94 million pound developments aim to make cycling safer, but there are a few things to consider:

  • Make sure you are fully visible and protected with all of the essentials - again you can save on these through the Cycle to Work scheme; including a bell, front and rear lights and a helmet.
  • If you want to carry things such as a bag, a laptop or your lunch to work, panniers or baskets are available too.
  • A pump is essential for maintenance, as is a lock to make sure your bike doesn't disappear after your first journey!
  • You won’t need any special clothing, but some waterproofs in case it rains are a good investment. 



Visit www.busybeesbenefits.com for more information about Cycle to Work. Contact Busy Bees Benefits if you are interested in saving with the Cycle to Work scheme and they will contact your employer for you.