Human Resources

Childcare Voucher Scheme and Tax-free Childcare

There are currently two schemes to help parents with the rising cost of childcare:

Childcare Voucher Scheme (Employer supported)


Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) (Government supported)

Childcare vouchers are taken from your salary before tax and National Insurance (NI) deductions have been made. Once you have set up a childcare voucher account, your employer will order your vouchers through payroll each month, which will then appear in the account, where you can pay your child carers from. Birkbeck’s childcare vouchers provider is Sodexo and more information can be found here.   Parents have an online account and each quarter must confirm their eligibility. The account will be topped up by the government with 20p for every 80p contribution by parents, employers or family members, up to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year. More information can be found here.

Which scheme can I join?

If you are not currently part of the employer supported Child-care voucher scheme, you need to join as soon as possible to ensure you don’t lose out. You may or may not be better off with the government scheme compared to the employer childcare voucher scheme. From October 2018, the Childcare Voucher Scheme will be closed to new joiners. Therefore even if you haven't yet made up your mind, it is important to sign up to Childcare Vouchers today giving yourself time to make a knowledgeable decision - you can join the scheme for as little as £1.

Please contact informing us of your wish to join the scheme – depending on your tax banding, you can sacrifice a maximum of £243 per month (or £124 per month for higher tax banding). HR will then provide you with the link to create a parent account.

If you are a new joiner  - you must have created your account and requested an amount of childcare vouchers by September 2018.

Options for current members

Your options are:

  1. Remain in the Childcare Voucher Scheme:
    •  If you have not received vouchers in the last 12 months, HMRC will class you as a leaver from the scheme and you will need to re-join and have a salary deduction in September 2018.
    • If you are not currently receiving vouchers but you have been in the Childcare Voucher Scheme within the last 12 months, you can re-join provided you didn’t join TFC and you re-join the voucher scheme before there has been a 12 month break
  2. Switch to TFC
    • Please advise HR as soon as possible that you are leaving the scheme.
    • Sign up for TFC here

The website provides additional information which includes a calculator to be able to assess which scheme may be more beneficial, click here to visit.

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The HR team is based on the first floor of Egmont House
Postal address: Human Resources, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX