Childcare vouchers and other employer schemes

Your employer may be able to help you with approved childcare costs using childcare vouchers or other schemes, for example a staff nursery.

Childcare vouchers

Ask your employer if they offer a childcare voucher scheme.

You can take up to £55 a week of your wages as childcare vouchers, which you do not pay tax or National Insurance on.

How much you can take depends on the amount you earn and when you join the scheme.

Childcare vouchers may affect the amount of tax credits you get. Use the childcare calculator to work out what support you could get.

Changes to childcare vouchers

From 4 October 2018, childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants. You may be able to get Tax-Free Childcare instead.

You can keep getting vouchers if you’ve joined a scheme and your wages have been adjusted before the scheme closes in October 2018, as long as:

  • you stay with the same employer and they continue to run the scheme
  • you do not take an unpaid career break of longer than a year

If you get Tax-Free Childcare

You cannot continue to claim childcare vouchers if you successfully apply for Tax-Free Childcare.

Which scheme you’re better off with depends on your situation. Use the childcare calculator to work out which type of support is best for you.

You must tell your employer within 90 days if you get Tax-Free Childcare. They’ll then stop giving you new vouchers.

You can continue to use any vouchers you already have, including to make a joint payment for childcare with Tax-Free Childcare. There’s no deadline for using your vouchers.

Once you’ve told your employer that you’re getting Tax-Free Childcare, you cannot rejoin their voucher scheme.

Tax and employer childcare schemes

You do not have to pay tax and National Insurance on:

  • childcare vouchers
  • childcare your employer arranges with a provider (sometimes known as ‘directly contracted childcare’)
  • workplace nurseries

You must pay tax and National Insurance on:

  • cash your employer gives you to pay for childcare
  • childcare provider’s fees your employer pays
  • school fees your employer pays