£1,866 loss to parents if they miss deadline

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New parents are being urged to register for a childcare voucher scheme that could save couples £1,866 per year annually before it’s cut off to new entrants on October 4.

Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Karen Mullan, has urged working families to ensure they register for the Childcare Voucher scheme as soon as possible.

“New parents and working families not registered before October 4, alongside current users who switch jobs after October, stand to lose out on vital savings of up to £933 per parent each year,” she said.

“In March this year, a six month extension to the scheme was secured and since then Sinn Féin have been lobbying to keep Childcare Vouchers open to new entrants, alongside Tax-Free Childcare, as part of a comprehensive and flexible package of childcare support for working families,” added the Foyle MLA.

Though the deadline is still nearly two months away, Ms. Mullan warned that time is pressing because applicants need to contact their employers to make some minor payroll changes in order to qualify for the vouchers.

She explained: “The deadline for new entrants to join the scheme is fast approaching and many working parents who are not yet signed up must register a salary sacrifice in their September pay to be deemed ‘eligible’ before the cut-off date.

“As many companies and organisations run their payroll four to six weeks in advance it is vital that parents act quickly to avoid missing out on these vital savings.

“Some parents have less than four weeks to register so it’s imperative that as many working parents as possible are aware that they must register now and make one salary sacrifice (this can be a nominal amount, for example £1) before October 4. I am also urging parents to make sure they know what support they are entitled to by calling Employers For Childcare charity helpline for Family Benefits Advice Service on 0800 028 3008 or emailing hello@employersforchildcare.org.”