Childcare Scheme

This scheme  was closed to new applicants from October 2018 and was replaced by the Tax-free child care scheme.

Where the scheme was  set up prior to this date and is utilised by company, then the scheme can continue to operate.

For working parents the government has introduced an Employer Supported Childcare Scheme if you have children under the age of 16 and you currently pay for registered childcare. Directors/office holders/employees can get up to £55 a week towards their childcare free of tax provided that certain conditions are met. There are two types of childcare that you may find useful; directly contracted childcare or childcare vouchers. A third one, workplace nurseries, would apply to larger employers with nursery facilities on site.

Directly Contracted Childcare

To benefit from the directly contracted childcare scheme, your limited company should purchase a childcare place directly from a registered or approved local child-minder or nursery. Your company can then pay the amount equal to the tax-exempt limit of £55 per week or £243 per month.

The arrangement should be between the childcare provider and your limited company so the contract should be in your limited company’s name. The contract can be for any amount as long as the amount paid by your company to the childcare provider is no more than £55 a week, and this agreement is noted in the contract.

Childcare Vouchers

Alternatively you can operate the Childcare Voucher Scheme. There are two options available:

  1. Use a voucher provider (agency) to operate the scheme on behalf of you, the employer. They may charge a fee but you will still be responsible for the correct tax/NI treatment.
  2. You can produce and administer the vouchers yourself as long as all the conditions are met and you keep records to support your scheme.

Registered or approved childcare

  •  Registered child-minders, nurseries and play schemes.

  • Out-of-hours clubs on school premises run by a school or local authority.


Childcare provided by a relative does not count unless the relative is a registered or approved child-minder.


Changes from APRIL 2018 – PLANNED PHASING OUT OF THE employer supported child care scheme

The introduction of the government’s new Tax- free Childcare scheme began on 28th April 2017, for parents of the youngest children and was gradually rolled out during 2017. When it was introduced, the intention was to support parents' childcare costs and  replace the existing Employer Supported Childcare scheme  which was planned to be phased out from 5th April 2018-in fact, this was  delayed for six months and was eventually  closed in October 2018.

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