Armed Forces FAQs
Who can join the scheme?
You can join the scheme if:
- You are a parent or legal guardian responsible for and paying towards the upkeep of a child.
- Your child is under the age of 16 when you use the vouchers (1st September following their 15th birthday, or 1st September following their 16th birthday if they are registered disabled).
- You are planning to enroll your child at or your child is attending any form of registered childcare, which can include nannies, childminders, nurseries, play schemes, out-of-hours school clubs, holiday camps and certain elements of Independent school fees. Childcare vouchers cannot be used towards the compulsory education element of school fees. They can however be used for afterschool clubs, breakfast clubs held outside school hours and on school premises, or on premises where school activity is inspected by Ofsted, or the equivalent body for Independent schools. They can also be used for payment of overnight care fees e.g. boarding fees, providing they are separately itemised on the school bill. If CEA is claimed, childcare vouchers can only be used towards the portion of the school bill not covered by CEA.
- Your salary remains above the national minimum wage AND the lower earnings limit AFTER you have taken childcare vouchers. This is to ensure you always pay the minimum amount of National Insurance on which a number of state benefits, including Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay, are dependent.
How much will I save?
The amount you save depends on the value of the vouchers you choose to take and your total earnings. From April 6th 2013 you could save up to £933 as a basic rate earner, £623 as a higher rate earner and £622 as an additional rate earner.
Is the scheme right for me?
The scheme benefits are great, but there are some circumstances that you need to take into consideration before you decide. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) govern all childcare voucher schemes, and offer a Childcare Indicator for you to assess your personal family circumstances prior to applying for childcare vouchers.
How do I know how much to take?
The amount you can take per month is up to you, within the limits of your total earnings (please see the table below). The childcare vouchers you receive are valid for 18 months (and renewed if necessary) and can be spent whenever you want, so it doesn’t matter if your childcare costs vary – you can still take vouchers each month and keep them for when you need them. Please round the amount you require up or down to the nearest whole pound.
Changes to childcare voucher entitlements and eligibility will come into effect from April. This may affect which earnings threshold you fall into and, as a result, may alter the maximum amount you can take in childcare vouchers. Please see below the savings you could make as of April 6th 2013.
Your Total Earnings
Up to but not exceeding £41,450 (basic)
£30 – £243
Greater than £41, 450 but less than £150,000 (higher)
£30 – £124
Over £150,000 (additional)
£30 – £110
What about my childcare provider?
Most childcare providers are happy to accept childcare vouchers as long as you adhere to their own payment terms. Your childcare provider does not need to have a computer or internet access to receive e-voucher payments. They will receive your payment directly into their bank account (by bank transfer) with an attached reference which you choose.
Remittance advice can be provided in paper or email format – whichever they prefer. To join the scheme you must have at leastone approved childcare provider linked to your account. You can add others to your childcare voucher account at any time. If your childcare provider does not know about Childcare Vouchers, you can download an information leaflet and registration agreement from the 'leaflets and forms' section of this website.
Will childcare vouchers affect my pension?
Most pension providers accept childcare vouchers as notional pay i.e. base their calculation on the pre-sacrifice salary total with no negative effect on pension contributions. The AFPS 75 and AFPS 05 treat childcare vouchers as part of your gross pay package. AFPS 75 uses a representative salary for your rank to calculate your pension, while AFPS 05 calculates your pension using the pre-sacrifice salary level.
Will childcare vouchers affect my statutory maternity or paternity pay?
Regulations in force for babies born after 5th October 2008 mean that you have 3 options in relation to your Childcare Vouchers whilst on Maternity Leave.
- Option 1 - You can withdraw from the Childcare Voucher Scheme (this must be no later than 23 weeks before your baby is due). This will ensure that your SMP calculations are based on your higher salary (not including your salary sacrifice deductions). If you withdraw from the Scheme your Childcare Vouchers would cease from this date.
- Option 2- You can remain in the Childcare Voucher Scheme during Maternity Leave. Your SMP will then be calculated at the lower rate (after salary sacrifice deductions). As your SMP is being calculated on your lower salary, no further deductions can be taken off SMP. Therefore whilst you are on Maternity leave and receiving SMP, your voucher costs will be covered by the company and you will continue to receive your Childcare Vouchers during this time.
- Option 3- A woman may opt out of the childcare voucher scheme during the period which SMP is calculated. This is 8 weeks between approximately week 17 and week 25 of pregnancy. A woman could opt out during this period and then re-join the scheme after week 25 which means the company would cover her vouchers during her maternity leave and her SMP would not be affected.
Before making your decision, you should seek advice from any relevant agencies in relation to tax credit implications or ongoing childcare costs.
The obligation for the company to provide vouchers only occurs in respect of a woman who already has one qualifying child on the voucher scheme.
My account has been upgraded - how do I login?
The MOD Childcare Voucher Scheme has been upgraded to give you better functionality and more control over your childcare vouchers. You can access your new and improved account by logging into: https://uk.childcare-vouchers.sodexo.com/User/Login, using your existing username (which is your email address) and password. If you have any questions about your new account please call 0800 066 5057.
Can I leave the scheme at any time?
Yes you can leave at any time, however we ask that you remain in the scheme for at least one month, to avoid unnecessary administration.
If you wish to leave the scheme you must make this request by the last working day of the month to take effect the following month.
Please remember, if you are a higher or additional rate earner considering leaving the MOD childcare voucher scheme and you were participating in it before 6th April 2011, you will lose your current entitlement of £2,916 per calendar year, which is £55 per week or £243 per calendar month.
For more information on this HRMC ruling please visit: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/childcare/employees-guidance.htm