Editor's message: Since 2009, childcare vouchers have been recorded as one of the most common employer-provided benefits by XpertHR's benefits and allowances research. Employees purchase the vouchers from their gross salary - known as a salary-sacrifice arrangement - resulting in tax and national insurance savings (and national insurance savings for their employer).
A new Government-funded tax-free childcare scheme will launch on 28 April 2017 and will be rolled out over 2017, with parents of the youngest children qualifying first. The scheme will operate through online accounts, with no employer involvement. The ongoing role of employers in supporting employees' childcare costs is therefore now uncertain.
Sheila Attwood, managing editor, pay and HR practice
Tax-free Childcare is the latest initiative from Government to support working parents, but it could see some worse off than in the childcare voucher scheme it is designed to replace. James Malia from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services looks at where the new scheme fits in and how HR can support parents to get the best deal.
Updated to reflect the increase to the statutory maternity pay rate from 2 April 2017.
What were the most significant employment case law decisions in 2016? Stephen Simpson counts down the 10 most important judgments for employers this year.
So far in 2016, there have been notable employment law cases on: holiday pay; childcare vouchers; social media at work; fraudulent sick leave; and reasonable adjustments for disabled people.
The findings of XpertHR's 2016 survey of benefits and allowances are examined focusing on location allowances, long-service awards, childcare vouchers and other benefits on offer.
In Peninsula Business Services Ltd v Donaldson EAT/0249/15, the EAT held that childcare vouchers under a salary-sacrifice scheme constitute "remuneration", with the result that there is no legal obligation to continue their provision during maternity leave.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that it is not discriminatory for an employer that offers childcare vouchers in return for a deduction from pay to cease to offer the vouchers during maternity leave.
An employment tribunal has found that it was discriminatory for an employer to make it a requirement to join its childcare vouchers scheme that employees agree to cease to be a member of the scheme while on maternity leave.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to childcare vouchers.