Is a childcare voucher scheme needed in your organisation?

It is imperative that before looking at choosing a supplier and implementing a childcare voucher scheme, a company must assess the need for one.

Alison Chalmers, director of KiddiVouchers, says: “Some employers like to run an employee survey to assess interest before introducing a scheme. Childcare voucher providers are often able to assist with this.”

Employers also need to assess whether they want to run their scheme in-house or whether they want to outsource it to a childcare voucher provider. Most employers outsource the day-to-day running of their childcare voucher scheme to a specialist administrator, meaning they do not have to get involved in the routine administration involved such as checking eligibility of carers or children, or making payments on behalf of parents.

“In deciding whether to run their scheme in-house, employers need to consider the administration involved in processing voucher orders from their staff and ensuring all payments to childcare providers are made reliably,” adds Chalmers.

“They should also consider the need to keep informed about legislative change. It can be hard for employers to stay well informed unless they appoint a specialist voucher provider. Administration fees for childcare voucher schemes are often very low, so many employers find it is cheaper to appoint an external provider than to run the scheme in-house.”

Laura Czapiewski, product manager for childcare vouchers at Edenred, says that voucher suppliers can provider a flexible service to meet the needs of the organisation.

“We can work in partnership with organisations to produce bespoke employee surveys or build an ongoing programme of research to meet their business objectives,” she explains.

“This can include evaluating the potential internal market and demand for benefits, evaluating service satisfaction amongst employees and reasons why workers may not embrace or use the scheme, as well as understanding how the staff perceptions of their employer can change as a result of introducing family-friendly benefits. Our surveys can evaluate satisfaction/performance metrics across all key aspects of the employee-service journey.”

Richard Davies, head of P&MM Employee Benefits, adds that, even in small companies, a quick email survey is a good measure of interest and the size of the scheme does not matter.

“With Childcare Plus, P&MM’s childcare offering, we do not stipulate any minimum take-up figures, so even if just 10 people in an organisation wanted them, we would be happy to help,” he says. “Any employers that are unsure about whether childcare vouchers are a suitable benefit for their organisation might find it useful to gather general information on the demographics of their employees to see how many working parents they employ.”

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