Swansea University has changed Childcare Voucher Provider

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Swansea University has changed Childcare Voucher Provider

With effect from the 1st January 2018, Swansea University has changed their childcare voucher provider from Computershare to Sodexo.

Why have we changed our provider?

Our contract with Computershare has come to an end. As we are part of the Welsh Government Benefits framework, we are able to draw on Sodexo to provide our childcare vouchers simply and quickly. Sodexo is partnered with iCOM who already offer you a range of benefits via Our Uni Rewards. We are delighted because, as a University, we are able to offer you a more streamlined, one-stop-shop approach your benefits, in addition to being more cost effective for the University.

Childcare Voucher Scheme

The University has partnered with Sodexo to provide the Childcare Voucher Scheme. 

The scheme works on a salary sacrifice basis, similar to the Pension Scheme. You are able to decide how much to deduct up to £243 per month (depending on your tax band) from your salary before tax and national insurance and thereby making a saving, which can be up to £900 per year. The voucher amount is then transferred to an online Sodexo account, and paid to your childcare provider(s).

Deduction from your salary will be made on the last day of each month, and it can take up to 3 working days for this to credit your online Sodexo account. Please ensure that your provider is aware of this.

For more information about Sodexo, please visit: Sodexo's Website

 

New Applicants

Please note, the Sodexo Childcare Voucher scheme is now closed to new applicants, due to national changes to how childcare voucher schemes operate. You can keep getting vouchers if you’ve joined Sodexo before 10th September 2018, as long as:

  • you remain employed by the university
  • you do not take an unpaid career break of longer than a year

Parents are now able to receive childcare support via the government Tax Free Childcare scheme (TFC), which offers parents up to £500 every 3 months (£2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare – information and sign-up information are all available here: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/  

You cannot continue to claim Sodexo childcare vouchers if you successfully apply for Tax-Free Childcare.

 

General Information

When you sign up to the childcare voucher scheme, you are asked to decide on the amount of vouchers you wish to purchase monthly. The maximum is £243 per month. Some childcare providers may wish to be paid weekly, in which case you will need to ensure that you have calculated an appropriate monthly amount to take into consideration a 5 week month.

Please note that childcare costs for a particular month may rely on a deduction from the previous month, i.e. costs in October may need to be paid for from your pay on 30th September.

It is your responsibility to notify Sodexo of any changes to your voucher amount. You can do this online, via Your Account.

Please note: Amendments need to be received 15 working days before the end of the month for a deduction to take place at the end of the present month. For example, you will need to make your amendment before 10th January for the change to affect your pay on 31st January. Any amendments received after this date will be processed for the following month.

It is also your responsibility to notify Sodexo with reference to your voucher purchase of any of the circumstances below:

  • Unpaid leave of absence
  • Long term sickness absence
  • Reduction in number of hours worked per month
  • Resignation or other reason for leaving the University’s employment
  • Maternity Leave
  • A reduction in salary for any other reason

If you have any difficulties, please contact the Sodexo Customer Care Team as follows:
Email: customercare.br.uk@sodexo.com
Phone: 0800 328 7411 (Open 8:00 - 18:00 Mon - Fri)

Further Information

What should I do if I am a member of the scheme, and am about to take maternity leave?

If you are already a member of the Childcare Voucher Scheme, and will be taking maternity leave, you should consider whether you will continue to use your childcare provider during your leave.

If you will not be using your childcare provider during this time, you may want to consider suspending your voucher deductions until you return to work (or begin using a childcare provider) to avoid unnecessary build-up of vouchers in your account. You are able to suspend your vouchers online as above. You can also contact Sodexo directly as above.

If you will still require vouchers whilst on maternity leave, please contact a member of the Equal Opportunities team to discuss this further: equalopportunities@swansea.ac.uk

Can employees obtain a refund for any unused childcare vouchers?

HMRC will accept that the purpose of the childcare voucher scheme won’t change if employers only exchange unused vouchers for cash in extenuating circumstances, whereby no other alternative can be found.  The circumstances identified are:

  1. Reduction or increase in number of hours worked per month for the University
  2. Relocation
  3. Unpaid leave of absence or long term sick leave
  4. Redundancy or job loss for a spouse or partner
  5. Death of a spouse or partner or child
  6. Divorce or separation form partner or spouse
  7. Change of childcare provider, change of employer, or partners employer
  8. Resignation or other reason for leaving the University’s employment
  9. A circumstance that changes existing childcare arrangements

A refund request form must be obtained from Sodexo, completed and returned to equalopportunities@swansea.ac.uk.
When it has been agreed that a refund can be made, it is University policy that the employee must fully exit the scheme as a refund of monies means that the employee no longer needs the monies for childcare provision.

Please note that mismanagement of accounts e.g. allowing an excessive surplus of monies to build up with no realistic method/mechanism in which to utilise them, does not fall within the exceptional circumstances. Forgetting to cancel voucher payments does not fall within the exceptional circumstances, unless it coincides with circumstances 1 – 8 above. Employees are reminded that vouchers are to be purchased with the full intent of being able to spend them accordingly.

The decision to grant a refund will always remain with Swansea University and will only be given within the current tax year to current employees. The refund amount must be for the full amount remaining in your Sodexo account. Refund payments will be returned to the employee via the payroll system in the next available salary run, once the refund has been received from Sodexo. It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that vouchers are used prior to the end of employment or to ensure that the Sodexo account does not hold any voucher amount that cannot be spent following the end of employment.

Who should I contact if I have an enquiry?

For all queries, please contact the Sodexo Customer Care Team via their telephone helpline or e-mail.

Phone: 0800 328 7411 (Open 8:00 - 18:00 Mon - Fri)
E-mail: customercare.br.uk@sodexo.com