Qualifying childcare provision

You can use your vouchers to pay for registered or approved childcare up to the age of 15.  This may include breakfast clubs, after school clubs, nurseries, childminders, after school activities, holiday camps and certain elements of independent school fees.

The current registration and approval bodies include:

  • The Care Inspectorate (Scotland)
  • Ofsted Childcare Register – Compulsory (England)
  • Ofsted Childcare Register – Voluntary (England)
  • Local Health and Social Services Trusts (Northern Ireland)
  • Childcare Approval Scheme (Wales)
  • The Care and Social Services Inspectorate (Wales)

Your childcare provider will be able to inform you whether they are registered with the appropriate regulator.


What are the qualifying ages for children in Scotland & England?

In Scotland and England, the child for whom the childcare voucher is provided must be a child of the employee or a child who lives with the employee and for whom he or she has parental responsibility.

A child qualifies up to 1st September following their 15th birthday or the 1st September following their 16th birthday if he or she is disabled.  The childcare used must be registered as specified.

I don’t have fulltime childcare requirements; do I still qualify for this scheme?

Yes, however, you will still be required to take a fixed sacrifice from your salary each pay period.  These sacrificed earnings will build up in your Sodexo childcare account until such time as you need to pay your childcare provider.

For example, you may use a summer holiday play scheme – A small deduction would come from your salary each pay period and would be credited to your Sodexo childcare account.  When you need to pay for the play scheme, you simply access your Sodexo childcare account and authorise them to pay an amount that you choose to the provider of your choice.  Sodexo will then, on your behalf, make a direct payment to your care provider’s bank account.
This can be a very useful way to budget for your childcare as well as gaining a financial benefit through income tax and NI savings.

How does my carer get paid?

You access your childcare account via the Internet or telephone and authorise a direct payment to be made directly to your nominated childcare.

When you initially join the scheme, you will be able to enter all of your carer’s details so that the childcare voucher scheme administrator are able to check that they are registered or approved as required and so that they can subsequently make payments to them upon your request. There is no charge to you or your carer for each transaction. You are able to set up new carers on your childcare voucher account as and when you childcare provider changes either through the Childcare Voucher website or by calling 0800 328 7411.

Can I pay more than one carer through the Sodexo system?

Yes. Providing that all of the forms of childcare you employ meets the qualifying criteria then you can use as many childcare providers as you wish. This gives you the flexibility you need as the child/children get older and you have different childcare requirements.