Skip nav helps confused parents save thousands of pounds

As part of the government ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme*, child care vouchers can save your family up to £2400 per year in child care costs, but according to leading nanny expert,, many parents are confused about how to use them or worse, unaware they exist.

In a recent survey conducted by leading online portal for nannies and parents,, when asked whether they were aware that child care vouchers can be used as part of the ‘salary sacrifice’ scheme, 90 per cent of parents replied ‘no’. Furthermore, 80 per cent of parents were not aware that the vouchers could be used to pay babysitters who were also registered nannies.

Vanessa Cook, Managing Director of, said: “Child care vouchers allow you to pay part or all of your nanny’s salary, if you qualify for them. In addition the vouchers can be accepted by babysitters who are also registered nannies and used to pay for your child’s nursery fees with income, exempt from tax, and National Insurance too.

“It saves you a little bit of money each week, which over a year, really adds up. The maximum value of vouchers a parent can use per month to pay for childcare is £243 – so if both parents employers provide childcare vouchers, a family will be able to use £486 worth of vouchers per month. The savings could well reach over £2000 per year for each family.”

Parents can receive child care vouchers up to the 1 September following their child’s 15th birthday. For children with disabilities, it is up to 1 September following their 16th birthday.

Parents are limited to using £243 of child care vouchers per month, per parent. There is no limit to how much a nanny can be paid weekly in childcare vouchers but not all qualify for this scheme.

To qualify for child care vouchers your nanny must be registered with Sure Start, a government-led programme, must hold a valid UK child care qualification and a current paediatric first aid certificate. The first aid certificate has an expiration date so parents can ensure it is valid.

To register your nanny with Sure Start you must pay an annual registration fee of £99 which includes the processing of an Enhanced Criminal Record Bureau disclosure - also known as a UK CRB check.

Parents conducting a search for nannies or babysitters via are able to see which child carers hold the relevant qualifications to become Sure Start approved. These qualifications must be verified upon interviewing candidates. In depth information on interviewing and screening candidates is available on the website.

Vanessa added: “Nannies can apply for and complete a two-day induction child care course to receive their UK child care qualification with Sure Start. These courses cost as little as £100.

“Furthermore even if your nanny is not yet registered with Sure Start, you may be able to start collecting vouchers, which can then be used to pay your nanny once she is registered. Unfortunately not every child care voucher provider offers these terms.”

* The salary sacrifice scheme is a matter of employment law, where an employee agrees to give up the right to receive part of the cash pay due under his or her contract of employment in return for a non-cash benefit, which is exempt from tax and national insurance.



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