Childcare voucher alternative 2019 uk employee benefit working parents

An Alternative to Childcare Vouchers

Catapillr has developed an alternative to Childcare Vouchers, following the closure of the scheme to new members, in October 2018.  This change has meant that employers can no longer support new employees with their childcare costs and hence people moving jobs have lost a childcare perk, that was worth up to £933 per year in tax savings, for a basic rate taxpayer.

Replacement to Childcare Vouchers

The voucher scheme was a key way that employers could support their working parents with childcare costs.  The Government replacement scheme is known as Tax-Free Childcare and is managed via an online account.  You can find out further information about Tax-Free Childcare and Vouchers in this article I recently wrote.

Unfortunately, the take-up rate of Tax-Free Childcare has been incredibly low.  Only 5% of the 2.3 million eligible families are using the scheme.

The key element that has been lost with the new scheme is the involvement of employers.

New Employer Scheme for Childcare

The Childcare Cash Advance Scheme whilst viewed as an alternative to Vouchers, is actually an enhanced scheme, designed to specifically support working parents and to make childcare more affordable and easier to manage.

The scheme works in a similar manner to that of an employer travel loan i.e. interest-free and repayable within a maximum of 12 months.

The main benefits for employers are the following:

  • Helping parents back to work by providing funding for childcare when it is needed most.
  • Increase in employee retention rates and hence lower recruitment costs
  • Compliments existing wellness programmes.
  • Low cost, zero set-up fees or software integration and with minimal on-going admin support required.

Once an employer has registered with Catapillr, their employees are able to complete a simple and straightforward application and account opening process.  This means any parent who needs to make use of the Catapillr Childcare Cash Advance Scheme, will be able to do so with minimum impact on their working lives.

The key benefits for employees are:

  • Link account to Tax-Free childcare account to benefit from Government support.
  • Flexibility to use with registered childcare providers or companies providing childcare services.
  • Savings on childcare via our marketplace and by paying up-front/early to access discounts & offers.  In addition, to avoiding using an expensive alternative source of funds to cover childcare costs.

For further information please message us via

Key Features Summary

Understanding the differences in each scheme is complex.  To help with this process we have prepared the following table, highlighting some of the key features.

It’s important to note that the only scheme promoting employer involvement is the Childcare Cash Advance Scheme.

Our scheme has been specifically designed to enable employers to once again be at the heart of a childcare benefit, allowing them to support their working parents with their childcare costs.

Childcare voucher alternative, tax-free childcare alternative




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