Childcare Vouchers during Maternity Leave?

(26 Posts)
SeeYouSoon Fri 01-Feb-13 09:34:11

Hi, I currently claim the full allowance of childcare vouchers, I am starting mat leave in a couple of months, and my HR department have just said they do not believe I can continue to claim these while on Mat Leave ( I just get standard SMP). I am sure I have read on here that you are entitled to still claim these, please can someone point me in the direction of something to give to HR to prove this?

BobH Fri 22-Mar-13 10:58:49

Its apalling that some employers can simply refuse to do the right thing. My wife works for a large corporate employer in financial Services. They stopped the £243 vouchers when she went on Maternity Leave. I told my my employer's HR and they were surprised. Another friend in HR is similarly shocked. Next, I phoned the voucher supplier, who told me that the vast majority of employers continue with the vouchers during Maternity Leave. They were aware of the few who don't, but felt no-one could force them to change their policy. Of course, we could take them to a tribunal, but who has the time or the energy to do this when they have a young family?

We feel powerless in the face of an unfair system.

deadlegs Tue 05-Feb-13 13:35:07

I found this issue confusing too when looking at my options for maternity leave with dc2. All the info I could find suggested that my employers had to continue to pay for vouchers and not deduct from SMP (I got standard SMP) with no enhancements. However our HR told me that as our company operates the scheme on a fairly ad hoc, opt in/opt out basis and nothing is written into our contracts, there was no obligation for them to pay.

Further to that, I did not know about the recommendation to opt out of receiving vouchers during weeks 17-25 of pregnancy (so that your SMP gets calculated based on full salary and not the salary after the sacrifice) which meant I would be out of pocket on both counts.

Fortunately for me, my employers decided that they would continue to pay the vouchers, but I am the first to bring this up in the company so I hope that they don't consider dropping the scheme as a result if more people are in a similar situation in the future.

Hope that you manage to get some sort of positive result.

baffledmum Tue 05-Feb-13 12:59:12

Employers need to look at what is a non-cash benefit and what is a cash benefit. Employees need to be clear to as to what falls into which category.

Employers cannot deduct from SMP but you should send in a cheque to cover the costs of any cash benefit e.g. a car loan. Alternatively, and only with your permission, an employer may deduct from SMP to meet the cost of these cash benefits while you are on mat leave. It is only the non-cash ones that have to continue and which an employer will have to meet the cost of.

PoppyT Tue 05-Feb-13 11:08:20

There's about 200 employees over 4 sites.

It's annoyed me even though I had an idea what they'd say.

OneHundredSecondsofSolitude Mon 04-Feb-13 22:45:36

My employer swiftly changed supplier when i raised this issue and the new agreement included a clause that any time earnings dropped below a certain level smp / sick pay etc then the employee would agree to opt out of the scheme. I had to sign it or not receive vouchers any more

Bastards

And I feel shitty because I've messed it up for anyone else particularly if a colleague is ill for an extended period

It's left a sour taste got sure

PickledInAPearTree Mon 04-Feb-13 22:36:59

Poppy thats really shite behaviour making you feel like that. What size of company is it?

onawhim Mon 04-Feb-13 22:03:04

Hi, I got SMP only during my second mat leave and paid for childcare vouchers. I think the company did take the cost of them out of my SMP and benefits (car allowance) but it was worth it for me. For others who didn't get car allowance and whose SMP didn't cover the cost, the company was OBLIGED to pay their vouchers for them. They didn't advertise this though, and only did it for employees who asked directly.

HTH.

PoppyT Mon 04-Feb-13 15:01:09

I'm not really sure how to proceed with it. They've made it sound as if they will stop the scheme if people push this issue. I'm also worried about kicking up a fuss & then having to work there & being treated badly.

I'm going to try look into it more & see what my options are & whether pushing the issue & raising a grievance will benefit me in anyway.

Thanks for advice so far.

baffledmum Mon 04-Feb-13 12:37:55

Your employers are wrong but the system can appear complicated.

When they open your flex window for maternity to review your flex benefits, just leave your CCVs in place. Once any enhanced mat pay ends then they must meet the full cost of the CCVs.

In addition, if you pay for your pension through salary exchange then they should also meet your pension contributions once any enhanced pay stops. All pensions contributions are employer contributions under salary exchange...it's a gray area of the law and some employers rely on employees not pushing it.

flowery Mon 04-Feb-13 10:59:28

You can raise a grievance claiming sex discrimination if you want Poppy. They are breaching the Equality Act by forcing you out of the scheme and treating you less favourably as a result of your pregnancy.

PoppyT Mon 04-Feb-13 10:48:22

Well I got a quick reply, emailed my work yesterday afternoon & email was read & replied to first thing this morning. A definite NO & a similar response to FoxyRevenger plus I was told this was the choice they made or have no scheme in place. I've replied saying I think it's unfair & again quoting HMRC but I don't really know what else I can do. I'm back at work soon so just have to accept their decision. Hope that others have more luck & work for better employers!

PoppyT Fri 01-Feb-13 20:33:48

Hope you get things sorted out SeeYouSoon

PoppyT Fri 01-Feb-13 20:32:25

Thanks flowery, that will help lots. I know I need to get the wording right when I contact them so will make sure I tell them rather than ask.

flowery Fri 01-Feb-13 19:56:08

It's not a case of asking them a question Poppy. If you ask them, they'll say what they've said before.

It's a case of telling them that forcing you to leave the scheme against your will purely because you were pregnant is discrimination, as there is no legal reason you had to leave the scheme.

PoppyT Fri 01-Feb-13 19:21:05

Thanks FoxyRevenger, I've got a feeling I will get a similar response but I'm definitely going to bring it up & then at least I've tried.

FoxyRevenger Fri 01-Feb-13 19:17:28

My work refused to give me the vouchers during my mat leave, saying it was legally a grey area and that there is no definitive legislation either way. I thought it was a shitty way to treat people and told them so. Just so you're aware it can happen.

PoppyT Fri 01-Feb-13 18:49:18

I've not sent anything yet, I'm going to question it again with them but I just wanted to get my facts straight first & to word it properly as I know they're usually good with these things so I want to ask the question so that I get a proper answer & not just fobbed off.

I'm not someone who makes a fuss but if I'm entitled to something then I think I need to sort it out. I'll have a look at those links, I've been reading stuff all afternoon & can't get my head round it properly so will go through it with DH this weekend.

Thanks

flowery Fri 01-Feb-13 17:25:20

Have you sent your HR department the guidance linked to above PoppyT?

PoppyT Fri 01-Feb-13 17:10:00

Sorry to gatecrash your thread, I've been given conflicting advice on this issue and unsure what to do.

I am currently on maternity leave with my second child. I was buying £243 childcare vouchers through my company's scheme. However I was told I had to opt out of the scheme using the 'lifestyle option' of maternity leave and I could rejoin the scheme once I returned to work.

I am reading lots of information that this is incorrect, however I did query this with HR before I went on maternity leave and was told twice that I had to opt out whilst on maternity leave.

My eldest child is still in nursery & I am currently paying fees using my own money. I receive the basic maternity pay of 90% for 6 weeks followed by 33 weeks of SMP.

I am unsure how to question this & where I should start. I would be grateful if anyone has any advice.

Sorry for jumping onto your thread.

SeeYouSoon Fri 01-Feb-13 10:19:13

Brilliant, thanks Flowery, sent them that link and also a pdf I found from the National Daycare Trust.

PickledInAPearTree Fri 01-Feb-13 10:10:12

You are right! Shouldn't be too hard to find something on the web.

flowery Fri 01-Feb-13 10:06:56

You are entitled to receive all contractual non cash benefits throughout maternity leave, and childcare vouchers are no exception to that. Your HR department will not be able to show you any rule or legislation that says all contractual benefits except childcare vouchers, because there is no such rule.

Plus they can't deduct from your SMP to cover the cost either. HMRC guidance

SeeYouSoon Fri 01-Feb-13 10:06:14

Thanks, I thought that was the case. Now I just need to find something official to tell them so, not sure they'll go for "mumsnet agrees with me" ;) I'll do a search.

I believe if you already get childcare vouchers your work has to continue paying them additionally to your smp. That's what my work is doing.

Cillitbanger Fri 01-Feb-13 09:51:36

You are right,I'm sure there are some old threads on here about it but basically my understanding of it is that when you are on SMP your employers are not allowed to make any deductions,however child care vouchers are seen as an employee benefit which,if they stopped paying would be construed as discriminating against you, same as you still accrue holidays on maternity leave. Therefore your employer should still pay the vouchers to your childcare provider but they can't take the money off you. I was on SMP only between July and October last year and my employer paid £243 child care vouchers for those four months.I did query it and they confirmed it seems crazy but its the law.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now